Friday, September 21, 2007

I Am Invisible

Recently a dear friend sent this e mail to me.I think it comes the closest to expressing the truest meaning of motherhood. I hope you like it as well as I do .

This is awesome. It was written by Nicole Johnson, who used to do this
in the Women of Faith conferences. Enjoy.

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.

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, "Pick me up 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 banana 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


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


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.


Anonymous said...

That was such a beautiful email you received. As the mother of two kids, I can definitely relate to being completely invisible - unless they want something. But I found what Ms. Johnson wrote very inspiring. Yes, we are building cathedrals. Beautiful, grand ones. And the one thing that will probably stick with me the most is the part you added about how yeah, we aren't seen if we're doing our jobs right. It was just all very reassuring and I'm glad I found your blog. (lol - I was looking for the lyric to a song that contained the word "invisible" in it - kinda funny).. Anyway, my oldest one is now 20 years old and guess what? I am still just as invisible - right, unless he wants something or needs me to do something. Which I am always glad to do, ya know why? Because all these years while I've been working on my cathedral, I must have done a good job so far - he is in medical school. I hope my cathedral will be able to give to people in many ways for many years to come. :) Still finishing up the foundation work on my other cathedral... she's a bit younger. I'm passing this on to my own mother; I do believe she will appreciate it. ;) Blessings to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

I like it I sometimes feel this way