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Apr 13, 2010

Martha & Mary

So those treats that I posted about yesterday?  Success!  The new cohort just left and with them went most of the baked goods that we made yesterday (much to the benefit of our waistlines).  I love having people over, making people feel comfortable, and watching friends gathered over coffee, tea, and desserts.  I think and hope that hospitality might be one of my gifts.

While I was cleaning my room tonight, I was reflecting on last weekend and a little spat that my mom and I had.  I was frustrated with her because she interrupted me to say what we needed to do next in preparation for having our family over for Easter.  It was nothing, really, and she was listening to my story (a rather unimportant one, by the way), but I overreacted with an explosion of hurtful words towards my mother and finally left the house, with both of us crying.  Not one of my proudest moments.  I'd like to chalk it up to growing pains or expectations for a weekend that required, and wanted, none.

However, living in this house with a mixture of people who all have different standards has brought out so many traits in me that I can trace directly to my mom.  Believe me, if I can grow into half the woman she is, I'll be beyond blessed.  She's caring, generous, and loving.  She doesn't always need to be in the spotlight and is okay with serving behind the scenes.  She's sacrificial, and never once complains about bending her schedule to suit that of her family.  She works all day, gets a meal on the table, keeps an impeccable house, and finds time to support my dad, brother, and I in every way that we need.  She's SO much fun.  She's a great hostess.  And that last quality is one of the things that I've seen come out in myself this year.  Not the great part, by far, but the hostess part.  I like it, I like to serve others in keeping things clean and organized, making an event nice, and then cleaning up afterward.  And I think I also like the excuse it gives me.  The excuse to avoid awkward small talk because something needs to be refilled.  The excuse to slip out early to start the clean-up process.  So I wonder, am I too much of a Martha?  No, not Martha Stewart, but rather Martha, the sister of Lazarus.  In Luke 10:40, it says, 
"But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.  She came to Him and asked, 'Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?  Tell her to help me!'"
If you don't know the story, Jesus tells her that her sister, Mary, who had chosen to sit at His feet and listen to Him speak, had chosen the better task.  He suggests that Martha is missing out on important relationship opportunities by worrying only about being the perfect hostess.  This, of course, leaves me wondering where the line is.  I mean, someone has to prepare everything and make sure that there is enough for everyone.  Someone has to clean it all up.  But maybe, the solution is to find a balance of both.  To figure out how to prep and clean and host while being gracious, patient, and understanding with those who are trying to help (what do you think, Julia Child?), but then to be able to sit back and spend time with people without worrying about what else needs to be done.  Am I hoping for too much?

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