Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chit-chat Wednesday and The Invisible Mother

Hello my little sparrows and swans,
I am taking a brief break from Blogging as I feel very overwhelmed with the wedding/birthday party preparations/editing book/renovating house.
I shall return in a week or two but in the meantime, I shall do my best to visit you all in your nests and trees.
This lovely piece arrived in my inbox the other day. I can certainly relate to a lot of it. If you are a mother, you may also see your own feelings. It is also for those who may be struggling creatively.
Invisible Mother.....
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 Mum. 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 car to order, '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 -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.'
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 Uni for Christmas, or Easter that 'My Mum 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 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, MUM!
Share this with all the Invisible Mums you know... I just did. The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you. This is beautiful and makes a ton of sense. To all the wonderful mothers out there.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Adieu for now my feathered friends xx


  1. Wonderful post! Great life truths ( God sees it all, Mothers are building cathedrals..) !

  2. Now is not a time for overwhelm( okay I suppose it is) but the blog can wait. Enjoy this amazing time in your life as fully as you can. We'll be here when you return! Enjoy your wedding/birthday party preparations/editing book/renovating house and other wonderful things you expected and didn't expect.xoxo

  3. Don't stay away too long, dear bloggy friend. Best wishes for all your exciting endeavors! xx

  4. This is a particularly inspiring post! I had a conversation yesterday with a workfriend about the same thing. One of the things I tell my students is "do the right thing always, even when no one is looking", and while it might make me sound like a goody two shoes, it is an important philosophy in my own life, because I know God is always keeping an eye on us!

    Have a good break! May all your projects work out brilliantly for you!
    Wendy xxx

  5. That is a wonderful piece...and I think it doesn't just apply to motherhood but to other things you do in life too... Come back soon! We'll miss you! xxx

  6. That's an awesome piece Josephine - thanks for sharing it. Cathedral builders... lovely.

    Sounds like a lot on your plate - life can really pile it on sometimes. Good luck!!

  7. This is a really wonderful post. Mothers are such a gift! Many of us do not fully realize it until we are grown and gone...I know I learned to appreciate my own mother in a whole new way once I left for college. Now I look back and can't believe her self-sacrifice.

    Anyway, you sound very busy...good luck with everything! xx

  8. Take as much time as you need. Josephine. Us mums are special creatures. Take care. xx

  9. Have a refreshing break. I hope that you enjoy every moment of this exciting time in your life and get some writing done along the way! xo

  10. that's a nice analogy between mothers and cathedral builders. a good thing to remember as we struggle with the constant demands. so excited for you re the wedding! hope all the preparations go to plan for you. p x

  11. Hello Josephine

    How I can very well relate to your post! It is so true, I often feel like that. Especially of late.

    I hope that your wedding plans are advancing well. How exciting! I remember whe Alan & I were planning our wedding. Fun but also a lot of hard work... You have a lot on your plate at the moment with the house move too.

    I wish you well with it all and hope that you manage to give yourself a bit of you time here and there in between.

    Take care
    Warm wishes
    Isabelle x

  12. Hi Josephine!
    Forgive me for not actually reading your post and still leaving a comment but I promise I will come back and read it all properly when it is not so late and I am not so tired from being a worker and mother!!
    I am more than delighted to sell you a Yellow Rose cushion. Just email me with your details and we can go from there.
    You will be my first 'official' blog shop customer!! How exiting....
    Thank you very much!!
    Oh, and I love your sleeping lady in the previous post. The artist Tamara De Lempika is a favourite of mine :)

  13. Wonderful post - and can you believe I thought you'd taken a sabbatical as every time I opened your blog for the past month plus it was stuck on a Dec. 2009 post!! Now I see you've been posting and sharing lovely things - including a wedding how wonderful - so I'm off to catch up!

    So glad you stopped by or I would never have known you are still alive and kicking, thank goodness!

    Hugs - Mary

  14. Hi Josephine,
    Wonderful to hear that there is a lot of excitement going on in your life at the moment!:)
    I hope all your events go really well for you.
    Very interesting post... I don't have children but I still consider myself as a nurturing person in many ways. Towards my family, friends and even creatively.:)
    Best magical wishes.

  15. Hi Jo, I just wanted to send you some light and love from my own corner for your sweet puppy. I am very sorry and wish you love and comfort during this sad time.

  16. Josephine

    I just read a comment of yours on Jennifer's blog. I am sorry to hear you lost Alfie. I lost my cat in January. It hurts, I know. I am thinking of you and your family. x


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