Prioritizing Our Moments

24 Oct

There is a poignant story in the Gospel about two sisters, Martha and Mary who invite Jesus to their home. While busy preparing food for Jesus and his disciples, Martha becomes frustrated with her sister Mary who is not helping in the kitchen. Instead, she sits at the Lord’s feet listening to him. Martha says to Jesus, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But Jesus answers saying, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

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I find these words so piercing yet compassionate as Jesus basically tells Martha to slow down and breathe. How many of us need to hear this as a reminder that we’re losing perspective on what really matters? I remember a moment in my life when it seemed a similar message was telegraphed to me. I was working as a nanny for three boys in Marin California right across the Golden Gate Bridge. I had just graduated college and balanced caring for the boys with cooking and light housekeeping duties. One day the kids were just dying to show me something but I was caught up with dinner preparations. As they approached me asking if I could come look at whatever it was they were doing, my knee jerk response was, “Not now.” Yet as I looked into their eager faces so full of excitement to share with me, I checked myself. What was I doing that was so urgent? “Only one thing is necessary…”

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In a society that puts great value on work and productivity, it can be easy to lose sight of what really matters. We wear our busy schedules like badges of honor and almost seem to boast when we don’t have time to eat lunch or spend time with loved ones. But for those of us who have experienced great loss, part of the healing process is to realize that these things matter. A child looking up expectantly at us, an animal longing to be petted, or a flower begging to be admired are all things that can bring us great joy, if we take the time to embrace what is right in front of us.

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