Monday, July 22, 2013

The Better Part

Jesus entered a village 
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. 
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? 
Tell her to help me.” 
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. 
There is need of only one thing. 
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”
                                                -Luke 10:38-42

This was yesterday's Gospel reading, and it's one of those readings that always makes me pause and think, as if it were the first time I'd heard it.  (Kind of like the Ash Wednesday readings...)

Our (brand new, fresh from ordination!) priest used this reading to speak about America's workaholic culture in his homily, contrasting that with Italy's work ethic of "I will work only as long and as hard as I have to in order to support my family, but the majority of my time is spent with the people I love."  That's sort of a new take on this reading for me- probably because I'm in a new place in my life.  I've struggled for the past year or so in a job that I don't like, but, for various reasons, I haven't really had the option to quit.  The only thing motivating me to push on through is the promise that maybe one day, it'll get better (and it's getting better, I've started a transition to a slightly different position) and frankly, I can't walk away from this kind of salary and benefits.  In the back of my mind, though, I did have a sort of 5-year exit plan to get into an entirely new career in an entirely new city, but that plan would involve a ridiculous amount of downsizing.

And then Chief made an appearance, and that plan went out the window.  Mr. Geek is going back to school while working right now, and my exit plan involved going back to school full-time, but that just isn't going to happen now that we've thrown a baby girl in the mix.  (It's funny how babies change everything...)  Now I am 100% focused on staying in this career, taking advantage of the benefits, and giving the very best life I can give to our little family.  It means our little girl- and all of our future children- will have to spend a majority of the time in day care.  It means I'll be away a lot on business trips.  But it also means Chief (and all of our future children) will have a wonderful education and incredible life experiences.

After every homily for this Gospel reading, I've always felt sorry for Martha.  As a Southern girl, I know how important it is to be a good hostess, and I always kind of felt like Jesus was being a little hard on Martha- Mary really should be helping her serve their guest!  But I do understand why He admonishes her- a good hostess doesn't get so wrapped up in the frenzy of serving her guests that she ignores them completely.  (And, more importantly, spending time with our Lord shouldn't mean stressing about the details, it should mean spending time with our Lord.)

But to look at Martha as a the quintessential American parent who sacrifices so much for their child without ever actually spending any time with them.  I don't want us to fall into that.  I don't want us to work so hard to give Chief and her siblings the best life they can have while neglecting the best, most important part of childhood- being loved and nurtured by their parents.

Every time I hear this Gospel, I have to remind myself to be less like Martha (my natural tendency) and more like Mary.  In this new context, this new state of my life, it's more important than ever before.

So what about you- are you a Martha or a Mary?  Working moms- do you have any tips to avoid being a workaholic?  How do you keep your family as your number one priority and still manage to enjoy time with them?  Have you ever worried that you're working too much to properly care for and nurture your children?  How do you achieve the elusive work-life balance?

Much love,
The Geeks

1 comment:

  1. I cant wait to have chief and spend all the time with the 2 of you as I can!