Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My Mom Sent Me This...

My Mom sent me the most touching email. It describes how I feel a lot. WARNING: It could make you cry. Thanks Mom. I hope it helps any of you other Moms who may sometimes feel invisible.

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. 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 o f 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, and 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 hair clip and
I was a f raid 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 f 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 by the 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.

Great Job, MOM!

Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know .... I just did.

1 comment:

Joanna said...

I've seen that before and yes I think you are building some amazing people!