It’s been a while since I’ve actually spent time with my family, a time to laugh, to see their hearts, to enjoy a common ground with them. I didn’t realize it until this evening how much I’ve actually spent apart from them. Though we actually live in the same house, I haven’t really seen them or spoken to them at a personal level.
I have come to realize this just a couple of hours ago when my brother, cousins and I goofed around with the laptop camera. We took videos of us dancing and singing to songs we can all sing along to. It was a time of nonsense, admittedly. A time spent on practically nothing important, not on a lesson plan, not for Bible study, not for materials to be used for Sunday School. And yet, I would have to admit, after all the laughter has subsided and my cousins have already departed to go to sleep, I am left with a feeling of sadness. Has it actually been that long since I’ve last laughed with them?
I recalled a statement my father just told me recently. He said that my brothers find me a bit different. According to Papa, my brothers somehow miss the old me. And I wonder, what could they possibly miss about the old drinking and smoking Diane? Could this be it? Is it that my brothers miss the Diane they could laugh with?
Since the past year, I’ve actually decided to leave everything behind and pursue this new life with unwarranted determination. No looking back for me, no U-turns. Eyes on the goal, I would always tell myself. And indeed I’ve been walking straight since then. Sometimes, I would take wobbly steps, but still in the same direction.
After only a year and a couple of months of consistent walk, I find myself already a full-time member of the church I am attending. I’ve also joined a church ministry, alongside two formal Bible study classes. Add this up with school work and my hands are already full. Not too full, I guess, as I still have time to meet with friends once in a while for fellowship.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
This is pretty much the same scenario I find myself in now. Jesus comes and enters my life. As His presence commands, there should be change, attentiveness on the part of the host. But instead of being Mary, I was like Martha. I was so caught up in trying to impress Jesus that I started to involve myself in a lot of things. I have to be everywhere and I have to do everything. This is Jesus we are talking about here. He is the most distinguished guest I could possibly have. Everything needs to be perfect when He’s around. Worried that Jesus might disapprove, I forgot everything else that needs to be taken care of…
Paulo is not home yet.
Nevermind, Pau. He doesn’t like getting scolded anyway.
Kuya is drinking again. Do you think something is wrong with him?
I’ll talk to him some other time. I have to prepare materials for my lesson tomorrow first.
Paps left again. Don’t you think you should ask where he’s going and to bid him take care?
He’s old enough to know what He’s doing. He’ll come around some other time.
What about the others? Don’t you think you should be asking how they are faring?
Come on! I have a lot of things going on right now! Do I really have to fend off for everyone’s spiritual needs?!
If this is how I addressed things at home, then I guess, I am really Martha. Martha the worrier. I-have-to-impress-Jesus-with-outward-appearances Martha. And here I am surprised at how my family sees me.
I’ve been too busy to actually relate with them. Yes, I no longer like most of the things they indulge in, but that does not change the fact that I now have the burden of taking care of them at a deeper level. My looking after my family does not end with paying the bills and giving them birthday gifts. How many of them have I actually shared the Gospel with? Have I been praying with them, aside from praying for them? Do I act the way I feel about them?
While Jesus calls me to work for Him and to love Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, He did not excuse me from His second greatest commandment. Alongside loving God, I have a call to put others before me. And that includes my family.
So… Yes, the evening spent with my cousins and my older brother is definitely not in any way Christian-like. We danced and sang secular music. But it did shed some light as to the real condition of my relationship with my family. Maybe next time, I could get them involved in more significant things. Instead of drawing away from them, perhaps I could draw them towards me and where I am now.
My Adonai, forgive me for always playing Martha, when You have called me to be Mary. Forgive me for being too busy with so many things that I forget what’s really important for You. Oh, Jesus, help me be as compassionate as You are towards my family. Help me to see their needs and respond to them as You would have. Amen.