I was just over at Jen's blog, the Cottage Nest, and saw her post on being a stay at home mom. I got something in my email the other day that I thought was so beautiful, and it applies so well to what Jen was saying that I wanted to share it. It is kind of long, but worth the read.
Perspective: The Invisible Woman
It started to happen gradually. One day I was walking my son Jake to school. I was holding his hand and we were about to cross the street when the crossing guard said to him, "Who is that with you, young fella?""Nobody," he shrugged. Nobody? The crossing guard and I laughed. My son is only 5, but as we crossed the street I thought, "Oh my goodness, nobody?"I would walk into a room and no one would notice. I would say something to my family - like "Turn the TV down, please" - and nothing would happen. Nobody would get up, or even make a move for the remote. I would stand there for a minute, and then I would say again, a little louder, "Would someone turn the TV down?" Nothing. Just the other night my husband and I were out at a party. We'd been there for about three hours and I was ready to leave. I noticed he was talking to a friend from work. So I walked over, and when there was a break in the conversation, I whispered, "I'm ready to go when you are." He just kept right on talking. I'm invisible. 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 phone and ask to be taken 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, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Somedays I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the 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 the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She'sgoing¸ she's going¸ she's gone! One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there,looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this."It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees." In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered 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 was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become." At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness.It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because 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 friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table."That would mean I'd built a shrine 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 gonna love it there."As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.
"The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate."
What a great story. Yep at times I feel just like the lady in the story. How funny we become invisible one day.ReplyDelete
Thank you. Two words just don't seem enough, but that was one of the most true wonderful stories I have ever read.ReplyDelete
This is absolutely beautiful Kathy. THank you, I needed this right now. I actually have goosebumps. Being a stay at home mome of five boys, I feel invisible very often. But now, I truly feel different! Thank you again.ReplyDelete
That brought tears to my eyes. So beautifully written. Thank you.ReplyDelete
Wow, Thank You .ReplyDelete
Lovely story, thanks for posting it.ReplyDelete
That is the truth and since I have grown kids, 26, 25 and 21 and little ones 5 and almost 10, I have seen the outcome of all the work and details that I took care of. I think that now, I would not worry so much as I did with the first set. I am more sure of myself at this time in my life (40s) and just want them to be happy. ( I dont care what others think at this age either LOL Only God is my judge. kathy, you always have the best posts!ReplyDelete
This is just beautiful! My two children are grown and no I have 2 granddaughters and I feel like the most accomplished woman in the world.ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing this with us!
That is a truly lovely post. I very much enjoyed it. Thank you for leaving a comment on my post too. It's so nice when women encourage one another. JenReplyDelete
Kathy, this brought tears to my eyes too. I have seen this happen to my best friend and I am going to copy and send to her, hoping she has time to read her email. LOL. You have certainly, yourself, built some cathedrals. It is no wonder I go to your blog first everyday when it is so uplifting and always leaves me feeling better than when I came. LASReplyDelete
I got that email too and read it over and over! It was so good and made me feel better about myself.ReplyDelete
What a beautiful post! I don't have children of my own but I sure do appreciate what all you Moms out there do for your families on a daily basis. You are building our future!!ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing this - it was beautiful and truly touched me!ReplyDelete
thank you. I can say no more..my tears hinder my vision...ReplyDelete
Awesome, what a line when she said she just wanted her son to want to come home, bring a friend, and tell him he will love it there."Jesus said "The things done in darkness will be revealed in the light..Our daughters are grown now, with children of their own. And it is so sweet when they come homeReplyDelete