Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Mar Mar"

It's the Tuesday before Thanksgiving... If you are hosting family and/or friends in your home you may be starting to feel the pressure. I know I am. I love hosting the holidays at my house. That doesn't mean that it is easy for me to do so. The pay off is when everyone has arrived and we finally sit down together.

I meet with women from my church on Wednesday mornings. We are currently going through the book, Enjoying the Presence of God, by Jan Johnson. Several weeks ago the topic of Mary and Martha came up. That story has always annoyed me... Jesus had gone to the home of the two sisters and Mary sat at the feet of Jesus while Martha did all the work. Martha asked Jesus why he didn't care that Mary was not helping her and wanted him to rebuke her... instead she was rebuked.

I am a Martha. My love language is service. I am not as good with gifts or words. I try but... I show how I feel more through what I do.

That morning at the women's group someone joked about becoming a "Mar Mar," a combination or balance of both Mary and Martha. They had no way of knowing that "Mar Mar" is a term of endearment used by my family for me. I've been thinking about it a lot since then.

I have a habit of setting the expectations I have for myself too high. I especially do this around the holidays. I want everything perfect for my family. I want the house to be sparkling clean and filled with the smells of homemade food and goodies. I want those Norman Rockwell moments to be imprinted on all of our minds to be treasured throughout our lives. But...

There always comes that moment when I have to accept that my expectations will not be met. On Thanksgiving that usually means about 3-4 hours before our guests are to arrive. The process will have started the day before but I keep it to myself...until I blow Thanksgiving morning. I am usually running on very little sleep at that point and feeling resentful that while I stayed up late into the night making pies or cleaning the rest of my family was sleeping and then did not pop out of bed bright eyed and ready to help me with fabulous attitudes.

Unfortunately, that is a big part of what the family remembers. With both girls being gone this year my husband and son both expressed a desire for me to plan ahead better. That didn't go over well with me. Not. at. all.

In fact, I was curious to know when I was going to have a holiday where food was prepared for me while I watched football all day... Also remarking on the fact that that seems to be every weekend for them round these parts. Thanksgiving is really a couple days of SLAVING for those that do it, right?!?!?

I cried. They just do not understand.

I'm sure I'll have another fit before our guests arrive on Thanksgiving. It is worth it to me. I think about my Mom and my Grandmas and how they made all our holidays so special. I didn't know then, but I do know now... they did it because they loved all of us. It brings me so much joy when someone asks me if I'm going to make a certain dish or they tell me that they love coming to my house. I love how our home is filled with full bellies and lots of laughter. I love providing a place for those that don't enjoy hosting large meals like that.

So... how do I become a true "Mar Mar"? This Thanksgiving production is not going to prepare itself while I sit on the couch with my Bible and coffee. Jan Johnson presents many ideas in her book for ways to turn your heart toward God even while going about your daily tasks. She talks about "breath prayers," that are just short little prayers as you go along. I'm going to try to be Martha in action, but Mary at heart.

10 comments:

Oklahoma Granny said...

Thank you so much for your post. It helps knowing there is another out there experiencing the feelings I've had in years past and am beginning to have this Thanksgiving week. I wish you and your family a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving.

Gladys said...

I too have the problem of wanting everything to be perfect blah, blah. Then I read Loving What IS. It made me realize that nobody but ME cared whether or not the Turkey was done at exactly 2 pm or if the table scape looked just so. It was ME who expected that stuff. Then I asked myself what is the worst that could happen if it wasn't perfect? If I didn't interject all my stress into the Holiday. Guess what NOTHING happened except it was peaceful and calm. So we will be having a small dinner for just Me and the Kahuna on Thursday on the beach watching the waves. Then Saturday all of our kids and their friends will converge at our house for an After The Feast, Fest. We will have ribs and brisket, mashed taters and lots of good healthy salads. We will sit and visit and not worry about the fact the turkey was too dry or the cranberries were too tart. Lot less pressure since I realized nobody really cares.

jojo said...

That scripture has always annoyed me a little bit too as I envision myself as a Martha type. I too, find pleasure with myself when I do for others, especially those in my family.
I love your Mar-Mar on so many levels and I think I will be taking a moment here and there to say a little prayer. Enjoy your Thanksgiving Kel...jj

Melody said...

Amen, Sista! I'm right there with you. We'll be working on it together. :-)

Just Me said...

You're not alone! In my house, it's Christmas preparation that sends me into perfectionism overload. The year my mixer walked off the counter as I was preparing a pound cake sent me sinking to the floor in tears. Ugh.

I read a book a while back titled, "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World." If I can find it, I'll be happy to send it your way.

Rick said...

Hey Bean. Thanks for your kind comment on my blog. I finished another page of my children's book last night. I really believe that I can get it published once I finish the artwork and text, and then start shopping around for a publisher. Have a great Thanksgiving. We all must meet some day.

Anonymous said...

Oh my, we couldn't be any more different. I hosted one Thanksgiving dinner, and when my hubby didn't help and I was almost in tears, I refused to do it again. That was 20 years ago. I'd say my holidays are perfect! ;-)
Kathleen

Angela said...

I have felt the same way about this story also Coffee..I even complained to the Lord, 'Jesus, here is Martha doing all the work, and Mary is just sitting there and you tell Martha that? Who would cook the food than and serve You if everyone was doing that?"

I have started a prayer now that says,,"Lord, with a Martha's schedule, give me a Mary's heart".

I DO have a martha's schedule, each and every day, forget just the holidays,,,but I so desire a Mary's heart to go about my days...

Will be praying for you sis....((hugs)) and your time with your family that it be filled with peace and joy...even in the midst of all the preparation,,and only very small melt downs for ya...lol

Deborah said...

Hi CB! Thanks for stopping by.
I've been so spoiled. Up until a few years ago, we always went to my parents' house for big meals, and although I helped out, it's not the same as doing the whole thing yourself.
We've already had Thanksgiving (it's in October in Canada) and our big meal was breakfast....bacon & eggs, hashbrowns & toast....I guess I shouldn't mention that my husband and son did the cooking...

MUD said...

This was ther almost perfect Thanksgiving for us. We don't mind if there are dust bunnies down low or webs way up high. I cooked the trukey on Wednesday and then all I had to do was heat up the meat. I planned ahead and did cook a lick until 10 AM for a 1 PM lunch. Once the family realized that perfection in a pie was Mrs Smith, no one bakes them unless they want to. I cook and Barb makes pretty. MUD