Two women – two very different women – loved and cared for Jesus – in two very different ways. You know them: Martha – busy, preparing food for Jesus, and Mary- unbusy, at least in Martha’s mind, choosing to sit at Jesus’ fit and listen when there was work to do in the kitchen. Everybody knows that story.
Martha’s the “take-charge” person. It’s her home, and she’s determined to make Jesus feel “quite at home” (Luke 10:38 THE MESSAGE) For her, caring and loving meant doing, and everyone ought to share in the work. Sitting was for later. There was work to be done…“NOW!” You know that feeling…and you can understand Martha’s frustration.
Mary’s caring took a different direction. She had questions for Jesus. Things she needed to learn. Events she wanted to re-live. Who knew how long he would be with them? For her, kitchen duties could wait. Listening and learning came first.
But what does that say to caregivers?
To the “Martha” in all of us – frustration and stress destroy. Emotionally. Physically. Spiritually. Getting away – it’s now called respite – restores and deepens your ability to care for others.
And to the Marys – those with a patient, listening heart: Celebrate the memories of the one you serve. Share them with others. Treat them as a precious gift. Give dignity to declining years.
Prayer – Teach me, O LORD, the value of rest and renewal, and give me, I pray, an affirming, listening heart. Amen