“But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.'" Luke 10:41-42
I have really been enjoying my time here with my Italian host family, and I especially love being able to spend so much time around children. The two boys I care for are bundles of energy and fun - most afternoons I spend with them playing lions or ninja-warriors, building forts, making crafts, and reading storybooks together.
Every once and in awhile, the boys are allowed to watch a cartoon, and I generally use this time to tidy the play-room, unload the dishwasher, or go through the children’s school notebooks to make sure all of their homework is completed. But the other day, Federico, the youngest of the two boys, asked me to “please” (more like “please-ah” with his darling Italian accent) watch Doraemon, the boys’ favorite cartoon, with them. So, I sat down on the couch next to him, and he cuddled right up into my lap. I really don’t enjoy watching TV very much, especially Japanese kids’ cartoons that have been dubbed over in Italian… But I could tell that the boys appreciated me just sitting there with them, even though my presence didn’t affect the show at all.
I remember the small girls that I cared for in Honduras were the same way - they loved cuddling up with me while watching Disney movies or Barbie cartoons. Even though we weren’t talking or playing together, they just wanted me to be with them.
I thought about that this morning while reading the story of the sisters Martha and Mary in Luke 10. Jesus visits their home in Bethany, and the two sisters respond very differently. Martha goes about the house anxiously working - I imagine cleaning or preparing food, but Mary sits at the Lord’s feet to listen to His teaching. Martha becomes frustrated at her sister’s lack of help, and complains, but Jesus corrects her, telling Martha that Mary has in fact chosen what is good and important by sitting as His feet instead of serving.
So often, I get caught up in the busyness of life, rushing from one task to another methodically. Yesterday I was having coffee with Nonno (Italian for “grandfather”), and he explained to me the importance of occasionally just slowing down. “La dolce vita” (the sweet life) includes taking time to do things other than working and worrying about working - life is meant to be enjoyed.
After our talk, I was reflecting on how my relationship with the Lord has been lately, and I realized that I’ve been rushing my time with Him - reading a Bible passage quickly in the mornings, just to mark it off my “To-Do” list, but not really enjoying His presence in my life.
Work is good - in the book of Genesis we see that it was created before The Fall of Man, but life is not just work. We have been given the precious gift of a personal relationship with Jesus, and we should not forget to cherish it and take advantage of His ever-presence with us. I’m thankful for the relationships I have with the kids I care for here, as well as with Jesus, and want to be present in the time I have with both.
I love Jesus and what He has to teach me while I wander around the planet. My other favorite things include: foreign languages, yoga, hiking,
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