While the powers of invisibility can have its perks, it is not always all it’s cracked up to be.
As so many of my previous columns have come, this one, too, is inspired by a post I saw on Facebook. Called “The Invisible Woman,” the sketch by Nicole Johnson articulated what a lot of us mommies feel, I think.
I connected with her message right away without even having to think about it. That is how much truth there is in what she had to say, and what a simple vision she presented on how we should see.
She talks about being invisible to her husband, her children.
Yep, I am familiar with this.
I find it is an obstacle that I come up against on a daily basis, and it makes it a lot harder to appreciate the fact that I get to have such a large hand in taking care of my family. There is always something to do. Always. No matter the time of day or the day of the week. It just never stops, and it seems like I am the only one in our home that gives a hoot.
Only on the best of days can I muster the perspective to be thankful that I am able to do what I do for my family, but I tell you it is not easy at all to maintain.
To be fair, I didn’t think about all that was done for me when I was a kid. I didn’t think about all that either when I first was living on my own. I never thought about it until there were other people living with me that seemed incapable of depositing a dirty sock in a hamper, washing a dirty dish, or replacing a toilet paper roll.
It wears on a person, let me tell you.
Frankly, I know it is a matter of perspective as most things are. Only when this mommy has a colossal meltdown does anyone seem to notice anything at all. The thing is, Johnson’s post resonated first for its truth of being invisible, but then deeper because of the truth of how it ought to be in my own heart, because of a truth much bigger than myself.
She said a friend returning from a European trip presented her with a gift, a book on Europe’s great cathedrals. Johnson said she didn’t understand the gift, until she read the inscription.
“With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees,” reads the inscription.
And she goes onto explain the meaning of the book a bit more, how most great cathedrals were the result of workers whose names were never to be a part of the massive works, and who never got to see the completion of their own artistry and dedication. The ones who made these colossal creations are nameless, invisible.
She said later in the post it was as if God said to her, “I see you. You are not invisible to me. No sacrifice is too small for me to notice.”
And that humbled me all the way to my bones.
There are those in this world who feel incessant loneliness pressing in on them, who would give anything to have someone to love and to take care of. There are those who have no one else in their lives to complain about, but would love the chance to have as much. There are those who don’t have a house to keep picked up, who don’t have a job, who just don’t have.
How dare I turn my blessings into grievances.
I get to be a mom, a wife, part of a work family, a homeowner, a dish doer and laundry cleaner. I get to get out of my own bed every day and head into a day that requires a whole lot of me. I ought be grateful. It should be my honor to serve. If it was all gone, I sure would wish that I had done things differently. So why don’t I do things differently right now?
“It is the cure for the disease of self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my own pride. It’s OK that they don’t see. It’s OK that they don’t know,” Johnson said near the end of the few minutes long post.
It sure is, and God sees. And I think that is more important that anything else. He charged me with serving, and that I do it with a willing heart.
I so often entertain the emotional visitors of anger and bitterness because I feel taken for granted, wholly invisible. So what? The much bigger tragedy is that I am doing some taking for granted, too. There are much worse things to feel than unappreciated, and it is a considerable affliction to miss out on so much because of being focused on all the wrong things.
How dare I take this blessed, messy, sticky, lovely life of mine for granted.
There is likely a lot every day that goes by unnoticed by each and every one of us, things done by those around us that we just don’t think about. Let’s think about those things.
I may be fairly invisible to my family at present, but I am truly blessed to be able to support these people, to be such a big part (even if that part is mostly unnoticed) of the lives of those that are home to me.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.