Throughout the various physical challenges that have plagued me of late, I have grown spiritually. This is “good” fruit. Perhaps God knew the “Martha types” like me, need to slow down to actually listen and become more of a “Mary type.” My references are of course, to the wonderful story in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 10:38-42.
“As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”
Yes, that Martha.
I’m a doer, and I know I am not the only one out there. The problem with us doers, is that it’s the lens through which we tend to measure productivity, value, and worth. Yet Jesus says what Mary is doing by sitting there attentively listening to Him, “is the better part.”
Really? Then we are all going to get very hungry eventually, if we all become Mary’s?
I believe it isn’t either/or. It’s both/and. It’s a delicate balance of both. This is what I am learning, and I believe more than ever in this tumultuous time, we need both. As humans we can hyper-focus on productivity, work, success, climbing the ladder, being the best on the team, or first in the class. Sadly, these efforts may be to the exclusion of everything and everyone else.
Some of the restrictions due to the pandemic, are meaningfully good for us on several levels. Let me explain. Many events have had to cancel, from school to sporting. We’ve been asked to stay close to home. We aren’t used to so much togetherness or lack of activities to distract us. These activities are not bad in themselves, but like Martha, we can get consumed by them and lose sight of the one thing necessary: The One Person necessary.
It’s easy to push Jesus to the background, He will understand. He gets it. He knows that in my heart I’m just trying to provide for my family with all these late work nights. He knows that by putting in all these extra hours at the gym I will get a scholarship and recruited to a pro team. He understands it’s just too crazy with the kids and their activities to go to Mass or even attempt to pray together.
When we are slowed down, and have less to distract us, there is often nowhere to look but up, and acknowledge our mortality. We are being invited into relationship. When we are thrown into confusion and worry due to an outside force or illness, we start to realize what is important and what is not.
In the dark of the night, when all is quiet and I am awake in pain, it is easy to focus on myself and all that befalls me. This feeds the monster of fear, and anxiety grows. Everything becomes larger, harder, scarier. It can overwhelm. In my heart a voice simply says, “Eyes on Me.”
Eyes on Me. Look to Me. I am here. I am near.
Jesus knows each one of us so intimately. He knows how to calm the storms of our lives, the storms in our minds, the storms thrust upon us.
Eye’s on Me. I Am, here.
By intentionally refocusing from self, to Savior, to surrender and trust, we allow Jesus to calm the storm within us and bring us peace.
I invite you to use this precious time wisely. Don’t grumble it away or waste it. Reconnect with those you love or lost touch with. Play together, laugh, relax. Walk and pray. Go and sit at the feet of the Lord. These are positive ways to deal with this storm. Jesus light of the world, have me