A year ago I had a huge a-ha moment as I thought about differences between my older daughter Rebekah and me. I was on my knees, wiping up kid messes from lunch and watching her out of the corner of my eye. She was interacting with her four children (she now has five), thoroughly enjoying each of them, all of whom were talking at the same time, all of whom also were trying to get her undivided attention.
The a-ha thing was realizing that she is a people-oriented person, while I am a task-oriented person. She was focusing on the needs of her little folks, while I was determined to get the mess cleaned up.
I also realized that her behavior was Mary-like, while mine was all Martha. You remember what Jesus said: “Martha, Martha, you are concerned about the dumb stuff, while Mary has chosen what is important.”
The “important,” of course, was Jesus — spending time with him, learning more about him, listening to his teachings, and being encouraged to live a more holy life.
I was choosing clean floors. Rebekah was doing the Christ work — nurturing little people, loving on them, laughing at their funny antics, kissing their boo-boo’s.
From that point I’ve been trying to gene-switch my choleric makeup. Do you think that’s possible? I’m working on it! I try to listen more. Encourage more. Pick up on others’ needs and try to meet them as best I can — even if it’s just a little Facebook message or card in the mail.
Our other daughter, Bethany, called a week ago. “Mom, I realized I’m just like you,” she said.
“Oh,” I said, “I’m sorry.”
I was picturing her multi-tasking while she was talking to me, on her knees in her kitchen in that cute Victorian house in Berkeley wiping the floor after her messy roomies.
I encouraged her instead to be more like Jesus — being a healer, rather than a cleaner. I’m going to send her a care package this week, with cookies and bandaids, so she can pass a little love to the roommates. They can eat cookies while she mops . . . because, as I know, it’s hard to completely change overnight.
Are you a Mary or a Martha?