The Mary Life


“Martha, Martha,” the Lord said, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)

I am a contemplative by nature. To be very honest about it, I am truly only myself (as God intended) when I am free of the insidious demands and annoyances of this ridiculous economic and cultural slavery we’ve invented for ourselves. I did not always see it this way, but I certainly do now. I guess getting old can include this realization.

Although I willingly engage in what is required of me to make my way in the world, my soul no longer has any desire to be immersed in it. Over the course of years of ambitious pursuits, my orientation has turned increasingly toward home. Here, where we have chosen to live, our land is beautiful. Such an abundance of life! Things not made with hands. A wisdom different from ours.

To set it all in perspective, then…the so-called “vagaries of existence”, the annoyances and hardships, have always existed and always will, but truth persists more deeply and outlasts all else. Nonsense demands my life but love returns it to me, transformed and redeemed.

So here I am alone on this day off from work, with the dog; one vacation day at home. One perfect day free of demands and work. One precious moment of eternity in time. Home. The world goes on its way without me in it, and thank God for that.

I harvested arugula from the garden for a salad to go with my wife’s home-cooked (by me) meal this evening. Birthday appreciation. I baked a cake, too. Such acts of attention and kindness and gratitude and love spontaneously flourish when I am not crushed by the obligations that ultimately lead to nothing but a paycheck.

After washing the dishes, I sit on the deck and observe the wind playing across the prairie and in the treetops. Birds are singing. Nature is a love story. How often I have forgotten this. A spontaneous prayer rises: Lord, set me apart in this peace forever. Let me never forget your kindness.

I’ve had enough of the Martha life; it’s time for the Mary life.

2 thoughts on “The Mary Life

  1. It seems like today is your birthday so I am sending this with love.
    Birthdays are so important. On our birthdays we celebrate being alive. On our birthdays people can say to us, “Thank you for being!” Birthday presents are signs of our families’ and friends’ joy that we are part of their lives. Little children often look forward to their birthdays for months. Their birthdays are their big days, when they are the center of attention and all their friends come to celebrate.

    We should never forget our birthdays or the birthdays of those who are close to us. Birthdays keep us childlike. They remind us that what is important is not what we do or accomplish, not what we have or who we know, but that we are, here and now. On birthdays let us be grateful for the gift of life.


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