Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Martha or Mary?

 Martha had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’ And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken from her’ ” (Luke 10:39-42).

I realize this reading has deeper, more spiritual meanings but as a woman, wife and mother I revert to the simplest translation.... Martha is doing all the work and Mary is having all the fun.  I want to be Mary but find myself in the role of Martha many times.  It is a gift to be able to host gracefully, without stress or resentment and still be able to enjoy the "good part".  The trick is balancing both.

Afternoon lobster feast, enjoying the good part!
Every summer I am reminded of this story about Martha and Mary.  With a large family and so many friends and relatives around for the summer there is always the challenge to balance being a good host and enjoying the guests.  I tell myself I will not worry about doing "all the work", instead I will focus more on the people around me.  Every summer I inevitably have a Martha moment.  This feeling usually comes after a long day or longer night and is the result of too little sleep brought on by too much socializing.  I'm my own worst enemy.

We are lucky here because the communal nature of this place spreads the work load.  There are definitely times when the hosting duties fall heavily on one person or one family but there are also times when it is spread around and everyone has a chance to entertain and be entertained.  It is one of the things about this place that makes it so special.  Everyone is willing to pitch in and help with the hosting duties allowing everyone to enjoy good conversation and time together.

All the Marys and Marthas....Mikes and Jims of the shore.
It is easy on the host when everyone helps out.
There is never a problem enjoying the "good part" either!
I think of the lessons our children learn by being part of this dynamic.  They learn to share their fruits and pitch in by helping with the cooking, serving and cleaning because that is what everyone around them does.  They learn to sit and talk to people in a social setting.  They learn to take their turn being a guest and being a host.  We all want to sit and enjoy like Mary but there is no meal without Martha.  Both roles are important and valuable.  Balance is the key.

1 comment:

In His Grace said...

How right you are, well said!

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