You may be familiar with the Biblical story of Martha and Mary. Mary is sitting quietly at the feet of Jesus, absorbing his wisdom, and Martha is orchestrating the events of the evening and making sure there is food on the table.
This is not about which is best, just my observations about the two different types of women and their profound impact on me recently.
I made the decision to leave my husband this past Spring. I call it Covid clarity – defining and refining what is truly important in my life. I left the house and while I knew I would not be sleeping in the back of my car, I had no idea how the summer would unfold with such beauty, insight, and provision.
Each of us inwardly inclines toward “doing” or “being.” There will be times that we need to draw on the strengths of others, be nurtured, and open to receiving. As a “doer” this is very hard for me.
There will be times that we will be called upon to share our strengths, talents, or other “assets” with someone on our path. This is normally the area where I power up and push through.
But there is a time to sit, and there is a time to do. There is a posture of seeking wisdom and a position of intentional movement. I see it as a virtuous cycle of give and take, ebb and flow, and giving and being poured into.
The following are just a few of my Martha and Mary moments experienced and expressed as I ventured into my unchartered terrain. I have changed some of their names for privacy purposes.
On May 23rd, a week prior to my 27th anniversary, I headed over to our family cabin in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. I was met with a warm hug from my younger sister – it really was time to expand my Covid bubble!
We have always joked that I got the genetic predisposition for cooking and she got the “lighthearted” DNA. Melinda listened empathetically, she enticed me to laugh and encouraged me to cry. It refreshed my soul as we shared the giggles and tears.
Soon after Melinda left, Mom pulled into the drive. Her presence was immediately felt. She is an octogenarian on a mission as a social butterfly and made sure all the neighbors got introduced and I caught up on all the activities in the meadow.
I helped with computer connections, Zoom protocol for our new Covid social gatherings, organized and purged the clutter from the cabin. While I see a lot of myself in her, I became crystal clear on some big differences, which brought some needed healing.
Molly, my office goddess, stepped up and in to fill several voids. After months of Covid triage and addressing opportunities with legislative and economic shifts with clients, she allowed me to take the needed reprieve from running the show.
Knowing that my mind was pre-occupied with details of a separation and starting divorce proceedings, she has kept my “divorce brain” straight when it comes to serving my clients, scheduling, marketing, keeping me on task when needed and allowing me time to heal and breathe.
Then I was on the road, embracing my “inner gypsy.” My bike on top of the car, and mobile office efficiently packed, I visited a long-time friend, Roselyn. Politically extreme (I won’t say which direction), and deeply convicted to causes, she has strong opinions that differ from mine. It could have been a recipe for disaster.
Yet our long history of faith, family, raising kids, the death of her daughter, watching our progeny marry, and our grandmother status, gives us rich, fertile common ground of love and acceptance. She listened to me, and I listened to her.
Heading back up to my beloved valley, I was invited to stay at Lucinda’s abode. I felt like a gypsy in the palace, surrounded by all the comforts of life. A five-star hotel without the bill. Beauty surrounded me and nurtured my soul.
An astute businesswoman, she spoke in to the decisions I needed to make and encouraged me to stand in my integrity and my truth. She made herself vulnerable as she shared her journeys of pain and gave me hope for my vision on the other side.
Lucinda allowed me to invite my girls and my granddaughter to spend some time together on neutral territory which was a gift beyond measure.
Moving on, as Lucinda’s family arrived, I was welcomed into Melissa’s home. Surrounded by family pictures and tokens from ministry travels around the world, I was enveloped with the feeling of a big warm hug.
Melissa is one of my spiritual mothers and former counselor. She listened in her non-judgement manner and asked thought provoking questions as I worked through the difficult decisions.
There were so many more and thank you notes are in process as each contributed beautifully to my painfully hard, yet amazing summer of working my way through my wilderness.
Each woman’s contribution was unique and based on their own story, their own journey of growth and I am in humble awe.
We need both the Marthas and the Marys in our world. I feel we are both, and each day, we get to decide how we can show up for each other in this adventure called life.
Are you a Mary or a Martha? Why do you think so? Which of these types of women have you crossed paths with recently and how have you grown because of those encounters? Please share those stories with our community and let’s appreciate each other – together!