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 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.’ Some days I’m a crystal ball; ‘Where’s my other sock?, Where’s my phone?, What’s for dinner? ‘
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature – but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going,she’s going, she’s gone!
A story of legend in a 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.’
And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:
1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names.
2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished
3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
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, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand 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.
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.
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. 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 mothers.
(I heard this story at a conference once, so I don’t know exactly who to credit, but what a blessing it has been to me, and hopefully to you too!)
Enjoy your new week friends!