Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
There’s a saying – if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. I have convinced myself through years of work and study that I’m happier when busy – that, when faced with a mile-long to-do list, I rise up and become my best self. Pay no mind to the stress and anxiety, the resentment that others aren’t working as hard, the feeling that the whole world rests on my shoulders. I feel like Martha most days, and it doesn’t always feel good.
Busyness stalks us. There’s always more to do. Demands will always be made on our time. Yet, I also know that my finest moments exist in between the tasks – tender encounters with loved ones, mere minutes of unstructured time, moments when I see God seeing me. For all of my Martha, my Mary knows better. May I, for just a moment today, sit with God.
—Eric Immel, SJ, is a member of the Midwest Jesuits. After six years in Chicago, he recently moved to Boston where he studies theology.
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
—“Messenger” by Mary OliverPlease share the Good Word with your friends!