Two weeks ago, I broke my baby toe. In addition to a ballooning digit, the soft tissues on top of my foot were also swollen. That means I have been unable to wear shoes comfortably. In order to heal, I have had sit with my foot up, icing it, and giving it a little TLC. Thankfully, I think I turned a corner on Tuesday, and was able to lace up my winter boots loosely and take the dog for a twenty minute walk.
Sometimes, I don't like just sitting. I especially don't like it when my kitchen is messy. That stoneware pan soaking on the counter top has to be washed and put away before I can settle down to concentrate on reading, writing, or handiwork. I don't think I'm as bad as I used to be. However, it's Christmas, and I have kids coming home, and shopping to do, and baking. This was going to be the year when I really went all out with decorating. These things kept running through my head as I sat with a frigid right foot, vainly searching for any semblance of decent day time telvision viewing. Take my word for it: there isn't any.
As a woman whose vocation has been her home, it's hard to push aside the frustration that accompanies something like this sore foot. I felt so lazy, just sitting here. I avoided Facebook a lot last week because tis the season to show off our Christmas baking and decorating, and I have done no such thing. I comforted myself with the fact that while watching episodes of Midsomer Murders, I'm almost finished knitting a scarf for a gift, and I'm a good way into a book about Canadian women's contributions to World War I. My frustration did lead to one bad attempt to go out for a walk too soon. I regretted it. I wonder if this is a little residual mommy guilt.
I'm reminded of the exchange between Mary, Martha, and Jesus in Luke 10:38-42. I was definitely being more than a little "Martha-ish," being worried and anxious about many things. Here I had a legitimate reason to be sitting down, and I was worried about why I couldn't get up. A broken toe was a perfect opportunity to sit at the Lord's feet and study, not worry about decorating. My kids won't care if the house doesn't look like something out of a magazine. It never has. And why must it? Who am I trying to impress or keep up with? What is it about Christmas that makes an otherwise content mother think she needs to be Martha Stewart (the one out of prison, not in it).
One would think that with children who are basically on their own, I would have less mommy guilt, but I find that even without broken toes, it rears its ugly head. Mommy guilt doesn't really go away; it just takes on new forms. Pride dies a slow death. I still fall prey to the notion that I have to do it all, to perform perfectly. Why should I feel guilty because I am in a season of life where I actually have time on my hands? This is a gift. I had my years of a busy household where the moments alone were generally found in the bathroom; now I can enjoy a little more freedom.
I need to be less of a Martha, and do what Mary did, and choose the "good portion." That doesn't mean I can totally abandon the house. Not at all. I'm better today, and that means I can start moving again. But while the time is there for study, I should seize it.
Part of understanding our vocation is to realize that it is God-given. I have been given this life by God. I have done nothing to deserve it. Feeling guilty about the freedom I have is not necessary at all. Rather, it should inspire a heart of gratitude for what he has given me.