Sunday, August 26, 2007

This lovely story is from an email forward my dear friend, Lianne, sent me HAVE to read it...

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? 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, "Pick me up 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 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 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 m y 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.


She'sSewPretty said...

What a wonderful post! Sometimes I feel like that mother, especially when I hear about someone's degrees. But, I have three children I am nothing but proud I guess I have been doing my share of building "cathedrals". thanks so much for this!! Hugs!!

Alison Gibbs said...

What a fantastic post. It is exactly how we (mothers) feel. As a Mum to 4 (24,26,28,&30yo)and Grandma to 2 and 1 on the way. It says it all. Thanks for putting into words what us Mums feel.

jeanetta said...

o my thank you so much for sharing this. it was just what i needed. you cant imagine the perfectness of this timing. GOD knew i needed to read this. thank you so much.

Linda said...

I want to cry!
Today I was just adding a question of the day to CBD and I mentioned how someone got me to start blogging. I think it's good. It's a bit (or a lot! hehehe) of me time. The story was wonderful and then I saw a picture of my in third grade. How fast the time goes. How blessed we are to share in their young lives at a time when they are still so fresh from God. Still so unspoiled by the world's cynicists. So full of wonderment for life. A time when we can influence their temperment so that in the future they are kind and happy people first, achievers second. This is not to say I don't want for my children to strive to be the best that they can be, I do, yet I want for them to understand that it's alright, and even a good thing to have someone else win, or take top position sometimes. There are different ways of looking at things. This is a lesson close to my heart. That my child knows he is not here soley to bolster my pride. And if he didn't make partner at some huge firm I'd want him to inwardly hear my voice saying,' My child, now you will have more time with your little ones and are blessed for that. How blessed you are to share in their young lives at a time when they are still so fresh from God. You will see them still unspoiled by the world's cynicists. You will share in their wonderment for life and begin to see your own through fresh eyes. You will be able to give more of yourself at a time when you can influence their temperment so that in the future they are kind and happy people first. Family people. God's people.'
If he should hear my voice and feel this is the right path for him then I know those years I spent a bit unkempt, a bit exhausted, a bit lacking in grey matter, those years I advanced my being more than I could have being anywhere else. Those years I worked hard, slept little, and definitely catered to the boss' whims. Because I was goal oriented, only my goals, James, Olivia and Helena, may not have seemed lofty to others. Any doubts that may have ever creeped in, I realize now, I don't care. I did my job and I did it well. I earned the title Mother not just by birthing a child, many can do that, but by living the word's meaning. All along I was where and what I was supposed to be. What I always wanted to be. I was and am a good mother.

Cheryl said...

Glad you gals are liking this story, too. It touched my heart and I knew I had to share it! :)
love, cheryl

RachaelEnsomFrance said...

Oh my gosh! This was the sweetest post! I loved it! I even got a wee teary eyed:) I love you and I am oh so proud of you!

Missy said...

I love the yummy things you share :) Keep up the good work!!

Linda and Laura Lilly Cottage said...

Ok that is a lovley, lovley post and now I have big salty tears running into my cup of tea. Luckily my gorgeous children are at school otherwise they would try and stop me from using the computer because it is making me sad!!! But NO.... they are happy tears!! KN Linda

Kelli Bear Haven said...

I realy needed to hear this. I found your blog from Crafty Carnival. That was a wonderful gift and you wrote about it beautifully. Just when you think no one is watching. God is always watching and he appreciates everything we do. Most of all, I have a son who is 7 and a daughter who is 4. They are my "Cathedrals" too!! God Bless,

Kelli Lusk

Colleen said...

I'm just now seeing this and it has brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful tribute to Moms everywhere.

Thank You for putting it into such heart touching words.


Ele at abitofpinkheaven said...

Wow, I'm so choked up that's all I can say, Wow!

Natalea said...

thanks so much for sharing this post! I really needed it hear this! truly! sometimes things come at just the right time! lovely blog, xo natalea