Don't be a Martha, or Positively Unthoughtful

I never understood the story of Mary and Martha in the bible until now.  Well, I always thought I understood, but in my pain and grief I can see it more clearly.

The story of Jesus telling off Martha used to annoy me because I always tried to do my bit and keep things reasonably clean and organised.  I was raised to help clean up if our family went to dinner with my Grandparents, or to help out at Youth Group camps.  I used to resent the idea that sitting around talking was some how superior, to cleaning, but I'm sure that's not the moral of the story.

The moral of the story is that there is a time to clean, and a time to focus on less earthly things.  There are few things more irritating when you are grieving to have someone genuinely worried about how clean the house is.  Do not get me wrong, I think it's an important thing to do out of respect for others and to help stay sane.  It's just not that important for things to be perfectly in order when you are grieving.  I do not get comfort from people fussing when I am struggling to eat and facing sad news.
Spending time with people and reading my Bible are where my priorities lie in the midst of this grief.

When something like this happens, when one of the worst possible pieces of news is in the mix and when my heart feels like it is breaking, the Pollyanna approach is uncaring, lacking compassion and decidedly unhelpful.

How can anyone face the possibility of losing a loved one with any kind of strength by denying it?  I can "think positive" until the cows come home and it will make no difference.  There is no compassion in telling me to "think positive" as it absolves the speaker of any need to do anything.  The least you can do is comfort me in my distress.

I have given my cares to my God, I am facing things with the strength He gives me, and the comfort He provides.  This means I can face reality, I can mourn and be useful to other people also going through what I am.  I notice that I am being given sufficient support from unexpected quarters.  I have just enough support and I am incredibly grateful for that!




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