I stared down at her plump cheeks and her dark lashes and thought, ‘I have so much to do today.’
"But mom, please put on your party dress.”
She handed me the crotchet blanket that would serve as my dress. Not unlike many mornings, my Tiny wanted me to focus on her for a while; she wanted me to enter her world of imagination.
Sometimes I am able to do that really well. I have begun to appreciate that she’s 3, and take advantage of the moments; it will surely change soon. I don't want to miss them.
I have found when I acknowledge the value of a moment, there's grace there. My 'to do' list is not gone, but I find God gives me the courage and strength to accomplish important things.
It causes me to remember a post from awhile back by Micha Boyett called “An Invitation to Choose the Better Thing.” Micha is a lovely writer and she ponders the story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10. Typically, most of us believe we are EITHER a Martha or Mary. Micha wonders if we can actually be both? She invites us to recognize that in every moment we can choose the better thing. (If you haven’t read it, please stop and do so. Seriously.)
Micha summarizes her perspective this way:
Micha’s post has resonated with me since I read it because I'm not always a Martha or Mary. It's not that simple. I can be all of those things; both a focused, task oriented doer and and a lover of moments and people. I connect with the Lord and people in both of those spaces.
In Luke 10:41-42, Jesus says to Martha: ' "Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'
It's interesting that what Jesus honors about Mary is her recognition in the moment of the better thing. And for that moment, it was to experience God's presence by relishing Jesus and sitting at his feet.
This morning, choosing the better thing meant I needed to be present with my daughter. She needed me to put down my tasks and distractions and revel in summer, and imagination and morning snuggles.
The better thing for me was to notice the patchy sunlight coming through the trees, and taste the earthiness of my coffee.
I met God in that moment. That's how I'm certain I chose the better thing.
He gave me peace for that tiny sliver of time. Like the Israelites in the desert who God provided for day by day; God does this for me too. It still inspires awe in me when it happens, a tiny miracle just for me.
But let's not forget about Martha. Her desire to serve Jesus through hospitality was admirable; sometimes that can be the better thing. Yet, she carried worry and frustration with her. It causes me to wonder if she knew the better thing was actually to stop and sink into the moment, but her sense of obligation and guilt kept her on her path.
I can be like that too, I have empathy for how Martha came to that place.
But what if her heart had been different? If she had been setting the table, making the food and prepping the house for Jesus out of an authentic desire; would she have been choosing the better thing?
Possibly, but I am not sure and I don't want to read that into scripture.
Yet, it's a reminder for me that when I serve, I want to do it from authenticity. Because serving is needed, beautiful, and helpful.
What I want you to see here, dear reader, is this isn't an either/or situation in regards to choosing the better thing. This is a both/and situation, in which we experience God both through sinking into presence and by serving; and the combination can change from moment to moment.
As we stand at the crossroad of moments, I pray that each of us would let go of all the 'shoulds' that keep us in unhealthy cycles and instead tap into the only true source of wisdom and peace; that is truly the better thing.