Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I'm invisible

My sister in law Jennifer posted this on her page. I think we've all (moms) felt this way once or twice...


I'm Invisible

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack
of response, the way one of the kids
walks 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. The Invisible Mom.
Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more:
"Can you fix this?" "Can you tie this?"
"Can you open this?"Some days 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's
going, 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 ccould find that was clean. My unwashed
hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I
could actually smell peanut butter in it.
I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned tome 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 - thebook.
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 theeyes 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 by the roof? No one
will ever see it." And the workman
replied, "Because God will see."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. Then, if there is anything to
say to his friend, it could be, "You're
gonna love it here!"
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. Wecan
not 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.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I have read this before... I think it's from one of my books I started but did not finish yet! Such a great and true story!