Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Invisible Mother

*Thanks Jaime for sending this to me*
Invisible Mother....It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response,the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phoneand ask to betaken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, orsweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, becauseno one can seeme at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only apair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Canyou open this?Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm aclock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer,'What number isthe Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and theeyes that studied history and the mind that graduated suma cum laude-but nowthey had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.She's going, she's going, she's gone!One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return ofa friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabuloustrip, andshe was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sittingthere, looking around at the others all put together so well. It washard not tocompare and feel sorry for myself.I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with abeautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was abook on the greatcathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to meuntil I read her inscription:'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you arebuilding when no one sees.'In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I woulddiscover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, afterwhich I couldpattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - wehave no record of their names. These builders gave their whole livesfor a work theywould never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected nocredit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith thatthe eyes of Godsaw everything.A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit thecathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving atiny birdon the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why areyou spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will becovered bythe roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It wasalmost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. Isee thesacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. Noact of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcakeyou've baked, istoo small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a greatcathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not adisease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of myownself-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. Asone of the people who show up at a job that they will never seefinished, to workon something that their name will never be on. The writer of the bookwent so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in ourlifetimebecause there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friendhe's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4in themorning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey forthree hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would meanI'd built ashrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home.And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add,'You're gonnalove it there.'As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen ifwe're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the worldwill marvel,not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been addedto the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.Great Job, MOM!Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know...I just did.

1 comment:

Melanie said...

Ok this just brought me to tears!! it is beautiful!!

TFS