Mary and Martha Revisited

by | Mar 18, 2013 | Dogs & Other Creatures, Faith, Family | 4 comments |

Early yesterday morning, I woke thinking about Mary and Martha, a topic about which I had written previously. Why this subject again, I wondered, as I busied myself making breakfast and doing dishes, gathering the trash for drop-off after church, showering and drying my hair, cleaning up the dogs when they returned from their run and feeding them before donning my church clothes, then racing to join a less-than-happy Keith waiting for me in the car, engine running. We were late for church again.

The pastor’s sermon “The Extravagant Gift” focused on Mary anointing Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume. Martha served dinner, and Mary wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair.

After church, Keith and I drove to Farmville to visit his 89-year-old father in the hospital. Like Martha, Keith helped Dad eat his lunch, and like Mary we gave Dad the most valuable gift we possess: time.

Dad was a little groggy and disoriented when we arrived, but Keith started telling him jokes, and, not to be out done, Dad chimed in. He recounted stories about flying the P-47 in WWII and spending time in Paris recovering from appendicitis, and, thanks to his refuel teams, winning the Bendix trophy in 1954 flying the F-84 at an average speed of 616.21 mph. By the time we left, The Colonel’s color and wit had returned to their usual cheerful selves, and, with good news from his doctor, Dad moved back to rehab.

It wasn’t that Keith and I left Martha’s chores undone. Indeed, after visiting Dad for a couple of hours and talking to his doctor, we had lunch with Keith’s brother and his wife and discussed arrangements for Dad’s care and his finances, went to Lowes to buy a dishwasher for Dad’s house, which burned last summer, and stopped by the house to check rebuilding progress and pick out bathroom tile from samples left by the contractor.

Freya_Heathcliff0313Keith and I got home later than expected yesterday, apparently too late for the dogs. Freya was matter-of-fact: “I’m happy to see you but had to go and did on the basement floor.” Heathcliff was conflicted: “You’re home, you’re home!! I did a bad thing…”

Martha cleaned up the basement mess, and Mary comforted the dogs extravagantly. “It’s not your fault, puppies. We’re sorry we’re late. Go for a run and come back for supper.” Keith and I are both Mary and Martha depending on what is required, and we try to give extravagantly.

Next week, I’ll think about Mary and Martha while I get ready for church. In all honesty, since I’m too much Martha and not enough Mary, I suspect that I’ll have to revisit their story every day of my life.

What do you think about when you start your day?


  1. Sarah Myers

    I know – it so hard to make time for Mary when we are Martha – and vice versa! Great post. Thanks!

    • Carole Duff

      Ah, I hadn’t thought about Mary’s perspective – how hard it must be for her to tend a “to-do” list.

      I’ve decided to start my day with Mary and Richard Rohr’s reflection, pause in the middle of my day with Mary and The Noontimes and end most of my “work days” in mid-late afternoon with a Mary walk down the mountain to pick up the mail with the dogs – my God time. So there’s a Martha solution:-)

      Thanks for your comment!

      • Sarah Myers

        Sounds like a plan that invites both women into your life. Take care!

  2. Carole Duff

    Ah, yes. We Martha’s have to build in Mary time. My best to you, too.



  1. Resting in Bethany | The Noontimes - [...] an essay that examines a Martha and Mary life, read Mary and Martha Revisited at: [...]

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