Mary & Martha: relating

At the crux of that moment, and inherent in the Savior’s reply, was an emphasis on relationships.  In reading the definition of charity, I notice that there are many qualities that are more easily applied in a relationship than in a vacuum.  So instead of trying to possess all of the qualities all of the time, it seems a bit more manageable to think of them as being doled out in quantities as necessary and applicable in relationships with oneself and other people.

The Savior pointed out that Mary was seeking Him, spending precious time learning from Him and connecting with Him and those moments, stored away in her very soul, were becoming a part of who she would always be.  The meal, important to sustain the bodies housing those souls, would probably be forgotten while the feeling of proximity to the Savior would linger.  I think that’s what He’s trying to help Martha understand.  The trouble is, sometimes there are very real mortal concerns that go into creating moments like that.  Be they in formal religious settings or in homes.  Sometimes an awful lot goes into orchestrating a spiritual experience and the conductor experiences only the last lingering notes.

As we navigate our lives attempting to seek Him out wherever He is to be found, it makes sense that in formal settings, sometimes we will create the moments for others and sometimes we will partake of them because of another.  This recognition along with some semblance of balance seems important.  I wonder if Martha was obligating herself to a course of action when what she really felt like was sitting at His feet?  I wonder if she was claiming some space her in life, even just a few moments, to soak up His presence or if she was constantly waiting for an invitation.

In family or individual settings, we all have different personalities and we’re prone to different priorities.  I believe the Savior manifests Himself to each of us in beautifully personal ways and He can be found in quiet, intentional moments.  But it can be hard, especially at the phase of life I find myself in, to set aside the mountain of tasks I face each day in favor of a few quiet moments of spiritual presence.   And, perhaps like Martha, when I neglect my spirituality for a number of days, I can relate to blaming a lot of other things for my floundering.  Thankfully, I believe He can also be found in the details and preparations of my life if I seek Him there.  I benefit from a consciousness that He’s available, maybe when I’m preparing dinner as part of caring for my family, maybe when I’m driving my little one to preschool, to help her soul grow or maybe even when I’m outside, under the clear blue sky He created, walking my rowdy dog.  And even though I’m careful and troubled about many things, if I can mange to get at least one eye single to Him, He will manifest himself to me, usually with a measure of peace.

2 Comments on “Mary & Martha: relating

  1. Beautiful, Lindsay. Thank you for this. I especially love the phrases, “He can be found in quiet, intentional moments” and “sometimes we will create the moments for others and sometimes we will partake of them because of another”. Very wise. And, I love the image of getting at least one eye single to Him.

    My connections with God have looked really different in the varied seasons of my life. Sometimes, it’s been pouring my heart to Him as I chop onions and the boys are running around outside. Sometimes, it’s been quickly cracking my scriptures open while I have supervised toddlers in the tub. (I am a firm believer in at least one set of scriptures getting messy and wet…moms always seem to have some fluid or food matter near them:). Sometimes, it’s been simply saying “thank you” and acknowledging Him when I’ve snuggled with a newborn or held a sweaty, feverish head against mine and just been so glad that the little one was alive and with me. Elder Ballard said in 2008 something that has stuck with me, “the joy of motherhood comes in moments”. I think those words could be applied to so much of our lives, like “connection with God comes in moments”. It seems we are more frequently only given small glimpses of His power rather than sweeping, monumental views. Maybe that is how we learn best. It is in the small, simple, everyday, where He can show Himself to us…the prayer offered in the carpool line, the one talk in General Conference we’re awake for:), the peace He offers us when we apologize for our PMS blow-up, the moment of wonder-filled awe we offer looking at a sunset. Thank you for your thoughts on Mary and Martha. Your words have really gotten me thinking. Thank you again for yesterday. Lovely and rejuvenating as always. xo

  2. I love those thoughts Anne Marie, thank you. That really is beautiful, the idea that it’s the moments that we’re looking for. Perhaps it’s my eternal soul that hungers for the consistency and forgets that the whole idea is that we’re apart for now. I also love the idea of wet scriptures. That’s genius. Thank you.

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