Are you the invisible (wo)man?

12 Oct

Have you ever felt invisible?

I am in the middle of a hefty load of work, but I just had to stop and run to share this with all of you, my dearest blog porch friends, because it is incredibly awesome. My sister passed it on to us, her three other sisters (and we don’t normally pass emails on)–and I’m glad she took this exception because it is just an incredible read.

I don’t know where this email originated, but in case she (her name is Charlotte) comes across this humble blog post of mine, here’s what I have to say to her: Know, my friend, that you have reached a million souls–and even if it was just one soul instead of a million, your message is so powerful that it would’ve been, and it is, all worth it. Thank you from one such soul.

So here I am, passing it on to you ūüôā :

Invisible Mom

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will 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 TV Guide to answer, ‘What number is the¬†Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Pick me up¬†right around 5:30 , please.’

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude – 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 . Janice had just gotten back 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 Janice 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: ‘To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’

In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

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

A legendary story 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 everything.’

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, Charlotte. 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, 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.’

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

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 three hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d¬†built a shrine or 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, to add, ‘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 women.

Great Job, MOM!!!!!

The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect.

Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know… I just did.

Remember: I don’t write these words of wisdom, I just pass them on down the line.


11 Responses to “Are you the invisible (wo)man?”

  1. Joy Monday, 3 November 2008 at 1:42 am #

    I have read this before…but reading it again today, it still had the same impact. I, like many others, do matter. My efforts and hard work are important. And my kids will be my testament to that one day.

    Thanks for posting this!


  2. mistifaery Saturday, 18 October 2008 at 4:51 am #

    Wow I found this website from IkeaGoddesses’s site.

    I love this post! So true! I have three kids under the age of seven, three dogs, a husband and I homeschool! I definitely this way some days!


  3. latz Monday, 13 October 2008 at 7:24 pm #

    It does help remember why God made us “moms”–we are building something everlasting that will be passed on to the next generation!


  4. Lesley StC Monday, 13 October 2008 at 3:42 pm #

    Wow, I had never thought of it in such a powerful way ! all the insignificancies actually do stand for something after all. Thanks for sharing.


  5. Heather Monday, 13 October 2008 at 10:31 am #

    Yes. Builder of great cathedrals. That is my new title. ūüôā

    Thanks for the clarity I need to start this week, Liv. Nothing we do is in vain, but it’s easy to lose track of that.


  6. Deb P. Monday, 13 October 2008 at 5:46 am #

    Thank you my dearest sweet friend!!! This came at the perfect moment in my life when I was feeling very low about myself. For over a week now I have not been able to think of anything but the inadequate parts of my life. Thank you is so far from the real feelings I have, that you shared this with me. I love you very much and count you as one of the greatest joys in my life.


  7. Joan Monday, 13 October 2008 at 2:53 am #

    Ain’t it the truth, I just never heard it put so eloquently. Thanks Liv.


  8. Pam Sunday, 12 October 2008 at 10:44 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing this!! It made my day!


  9. Jana Sunday, 12 October 2008 at 10:24 pm #

    Oh, isn’t this powerful? TFS Liv! I think I’ll print this one@!


  10. Marcie Sunday, 12 October 2008 at 9:52 pm #

    Thanks for the encouragement. It’s a great reminder of why we do what we do.


  11. Anke Sunday, 12 October 2008 at 9:29 pm #

    I love this Liv! Thanks for sharing, I almost felt like crying, it is so beautiful and true!


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