Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Invisible Moms

This was shared on a  board I frequent and I wanted to share it with y'all. I was cleaning out my drafts and found that I had never posted this. May it bless you as it did me:

The Invisible Mother

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 that 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, “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. My friend 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. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when my friend 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:

“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 work man 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.

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 children to tell the friends they bring home from college for the holidays, “My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning to bake homemade pies, and then she creates a turkey feast that takes hours.” That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want my children to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to their friends, to add, “You're gonna love it at my house.”

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals, but we cannot be seen. 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! If you want, share this with all the Invisible Moms you know


Hilachas said...

Oh my gosh, this is all so true and I truly enjoyed reading it. That describes so many Moms and is certainly a tribute to all of them. Thanks for giving permission to share this as I wanted to do so as I read it. You have acknowledged all Moms today and praised their "invisibility." Thank you.

Denise :) said...

What a terrific story and sentiment. Thanks for sharing it!! :)

Kristie said...

Oh that just brought tears to my eyes. I do believe that all mothers feel invisible at some point. Such a wonderful story...

Have a wonderful and Blessed day

Karin said...

love it! thanks for sharing!

NaomiG said...

Love it, and needed it today. Thank you sweet friend!

CathyH said...

This post gives me renewed vigor. To remember that God sees... He sees not only WHAT I do, but my heart as I do it. Thanks for such a lovely way to remind us!

Deanna said...

Ah...thank you for the reminder.

Gwynette in NW Arkansas said...

A very nice reminder that God knows what we accomplish each day in his name and does not forsake us as others seem to do.


Alycia said...

What a great story... and timely. Thanks for sharing.

Suzy said...

Karin, thanks for such a poignant post on motherhood and the reminder that God sees us! Made my day. xoxo

Staci said...

Oh, isn't this really beautiful. And now I'm all teary eyed....

Janie said...

This post reminds me of a quote:

The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral------a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby's body.
"The Angels have not been blessed with a such a grace. They cannot share in God's Creative miracle to bring new Saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creatures. God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation."
"What on God's good earth is more glorious than this: to be a mother?"
------Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty

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