Sunday, May 2, 2010

52CP18: Invisible Mom?

It just occurred to me that I didn't post the cards for last week's challenge - I'm so sorry! I will add them later this week, for sure! Meanwhile, here's this week's inspiration, which came to me in an email a few months ago:

I'm Invisible

"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 Mom.

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 summa cum laude - 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 as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. 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 college for Thanksgiving, 'My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three 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."
-- author unknown

I thought that this passage would be a great thing to include with a card for my daughters and daughter-in-law for Mother's Day, so that's what I'm doing. I couldn't get into my studio to make a card for this challenge (long story - won't bore you with it), so instead I'm offering a digital image that I created for you to download:

It still needs a bit of cleaning up, but I didn't want you to think I didn't do anything for the challenge.

Edited to add: I've been playing with the solid image for hours - with and without help from better minds than my Odd Brain - and apparently the limitations of my photo-editing software will not allow me to accomplish the task. I've added the outline-only image in (hopefully) compensation. Maybe your software will let you do what mine won't... To save these to your computer, just right-click and select "save image" or "save image as" from the drop-down menu. You can also print directly from here by selecting the "print picture" option.

Edited again on Tuesday: I've played around with my limited software again and got a couple of the "issues" cleaned up. I've replaced the images with the cleaner versions. I've also made a card for this challenge - it's the first one in the Mr. Linky below...

Here's Mr. Linky:


foxyenglishcrafter said...

What a lovely idea, the perfect keepsake. I am sure your daughter and daughter in law will love the story. I know I would treasure a gift like this. Thank you for sharing. I have been reading the rest of your posts and I like your style of writing and the contents of your posts. Looking forward to reading more

Happy crafting!


Lauretta See said...

I AM JUST SO THRILLED TO HAVE COME HERE AND READ YOU THIS MORNING! I love it.. i too am invisible.. ;) and now.. i am not invisible to everyone ;)
thank you for this.. hugs x

Kristen said...

This makes me think of the song Silent all these Years, by Tori Amos... This is a great post! And I LOVE your image!
Very cool!

HAve a blessed and wonderful week!



Susan said...

I'm glad that you like this passage as much as I did! I know from experience how frustrating and futile motherhood feels sometimes. I figured all the moms out there could use some validation, so I was happy to pass this along! I finally got around to making the card for this challenge, so I've started off the Mr. Linky... Thanks again for the comments - much appreciated!