Monday, February 7, 2011

The Invisible Mom & The Cathedrals

Forwarded emails...we all get them. Some forwards make me laugh out loud, others I just want to delete and wish I wouldn't have wasted my time even opening it, and then...on rare occasion, I get a message that I love so much that I read it over and over again, I tell Todd about it, and then I continue to forward it on to my select friends and family hoping they'll appreciate it as much as I do. Below is one of those rare, forwarded messages that I have to share.


"It all began to make sense -- the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids would walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?'

I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?'

I'm a taxi for order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

Some days I'm a crystal ball; 'Where's my other sock? Where's my phone? What's for dinner?'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.

She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . She had just returned from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well.

It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:
'With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devoured - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.

2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.

3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it.’ And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.

‘No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.’

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend,
he'd say, 'You're gonna love it there...'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers."


Dedicated to my mom, Bev - Thank you for all you did, for the sacrifices you made, for your guidance and support, for your unconditional love and for continuing to build me each day!

To Gracie and Delaney - Always know...I love all that you will be and everything that you are!

To my friends who are moms - I can already see the greatness of your work! Keep building!


AIM said...

From one cathedral to another, thanks for sharing. Love you. xo

Anonymous said...

I still have tears in my eyes...thank you for dedicating "The Invisible Mom & the Cathedrals" to me. That really touched my heart. I am so very blessed to have such a wonderful, caring, and loving daughter. You mean the world to me! I am so very proud of you! Gracie and Delaney are so lucky to have you as their mom!
All my love,

Ashlee said...

okay - I could cry - just reading the dedication to your mom and her response! Y'all have such a wonderful relationship...
Kelly, you are an amazing mom and I look up to you in so many ways! G and D are sooooooo blessed to have such a dedicated, loving and giving mother!

Alyson said...

I love this! Thank you for sharing.

Rosie said...

A dear friend gave me this story a few years ago while I was struggling. I loved it--and then forgot.

Yesterday our church had a women's conference and the keynote speaker shared the video presentation of this.

I needed this again! I know that we need to often be reminded that we are building something that may not be visible today. We need to be reminded that even if noone can see what we do The Lord Sees!

I hope that I can remember more often that I am not invisible to God and open my heart to let Him help me build my great cathedral!