We come home from taking the little guy to his first movie. Grandpa, Grandma, the parents, all worried about a three year old confined to a row of seats, a dark theatre and an animated movie about emotions. Ah, but like most three year olds, he surprised us, and aside from some loud commentary, the experience opened a new door to future children's movies.
We don't return home until 6:00 p.m. and usually, at this dinnertime, there'd be a flurry of panic and rush to put dinner on the table. But this night, my daughter and her husband planned ahead. All the dinner prep was done before the film. The night continues to flow.
By 6:15, clouds have covered the sun, a slight breeze wiggles through the air, and it's a beautiful night to eat al fresco. I extend the outside table with a card table, a tablecloth, and to continue the flow, why not use paper plates?
When second daughter and her husband arrive, we sit down for dinner, say grace, and begin what will be a memorable meal. Even the three year old recognizes the moment, "This is a fun party," he states.
No one had planned a party, but something wonderful has given the evening--party status.
Eventually, the little guy is taken to bed. The table is cleared, but we return to our chairs to continue the conversation. A daughter moves to the deck couch and when the sun goes down and the air chills, we pile around her to create some warmth. It's a my heart takes a picture, moment and evening.
In the week preceding the family gathering for family wedding #3, I was a little nervous: about all the people, the feeding of the people, and the continual cleaning up after the people. And I love all these people. Regardless, my concerns were legitimate. I think I had pre-allowed my mother-self to be a Martha.
In the biblical story of Martha and Mary, we find the Savior has come to their home. Imagine the gathering, the rejoicing, the feelings that would accompany a visit from the Savior?! The gathering of our loved ones illicit those same feelings, though perhaps, on a calmer level. Perhaps Mary and Martha, the women of the home, felt a little nervous, like me, about the logistics of hospitality. But when the time came, when the crowd gathered, Mary recognized the importance of partaking in the spiritual aspects of having the guest of all guests in her home. Could she also have recognized the beauty, the enjoyment, even the fun of her special guests?
When my daughter and her husband unexpectedly relieved me of my Martha duties, I stepped back and saw what I should have seen all along: the joy and fun of my special guests. They may not have been the Savior, but we learn from his very words that serving others is akin to serving Him: When you do it unto the least of these my brethren, ye do it unto me.
Your summer guests may be gone, but they will return, as soon as Thanksgiving, or even next weekend. Enjoy those guests, that family, and regardless of their stature or their demands, remember to keep your Martha at bay and bring out your Mary to enjoy, to savor and to even have fun. And by all means, please ask for help.