Tuesday, June 11, 2013

More Martha than Mary

Last week, my husband and I were in a bad place. A rut. We were out of sync. This happens from time to time, sometimes during one of our MEN-strual cycles. I'm just saying. The word MEN in right there. I am fully aware of mine, and the others in the house are alerted to it by an increase in screaming, door slamming, chocolate in the pantry. Because if you can't climb out of your rut, the next best idea is to fill it with food.

The food doesn't help, as if I needed to say that out loud. What does help is having a co-conspirator in Pittsburgh who runs on the same cycle. Usually one of us is able to talk the other one down from a ledge with a gentle reminder that this rage could be hormone-related. That reminder, however, is punishable by death if issued from a man's lips.

Back to the rut. In this rut, I can't function. Brad, when we are in a rut, doesn't look at me. It bothers me when people don't look at me. I think that if I were ever to be tortured for information, withholding eye contact might be an effective technique. Just to clarify, you can pretty much just ask me anything, and I'll tell you. Unless it's someone else's secret, I keep those. But I won't look at you if I'm keeping a secret. Now, if you're my husband--or anyone reading this--you now know that if I don't look at you, I'm protecting something. Sometimes, it's my heart, but sometimes it's something that belongs to someone else.

I give so much away through my eyes so if I don't look at someone, it's intentional. I might not trust them. I might think they wish me ill. Or I might be afraid to let them see into my soul for fear they might use that information in bad ways. And sometimes, I'm afraid that if someone looks at me, they will see someone else's secrets that I'm keeping. This happens pretty rarely. Usually, I look so deeply into people's eyes that they are uncomfortable and look away. Then, I begin to wonder what they have to hide. Because, I assume that like me, if you avoid eye contact you must be hiding something.

All of this brings me back to the same lesson: Just because people don't do things the same way I do them doesn't mean that they're wrong, and I'm right. God reinforces that all the time. Last week, my pastor said to view people as "works in progress," and that resonated with me not only about others but also about myself. Then, listening to my favorite online preacher, I was reminded of the story of Mary and Martha. (Martha was mad that she was cleaning and cooking, while Mary sat and listened to Jesus. Martha wanted Jesus to make Mary help her, but Jesus told Martha maybe she should check her priorities.) I can identify with Martha, because a lot of times I serve begrudgingly rather than humbly.

Today, we are out of our rut and analyzing how we got there and how not to get there again. Today, I'm cleansing the salt, sugar, and other toxins I overindulged in the last few days. Today, I am asking God to help me see with His eyes. Today, instead of beating myself up, I'm embracing the fact that I am a work in progress.

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