Apr 24, 2012

Martha, Martha!

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

This is one area I struggle with - time and time again. I do not sit down to spend time with our guests rather I find one thing after another to do - for the guests of course!

I would start my day very early and work on so many dishes and stuff and soon things will get so overwhelming that I end up complaining about the family members who do not "pitch in" or "share the chores".

When the meal is served I hurriedly finish mine to rush with making coffee and snacks and the wheel spins non stop, while the rest of the family enjoys a leisure conversation with the guests.

Finally when I am ready to sit down it would be time for the guests to leave. Then I keep a long face that I didn't have any fun! Clearly I am like Martha on this. I miss out on the fun and fellowship as I am distracted by the endless list of chores to do.

But these days I am changing - though very slowly.

It sure felt awkward to order in a pizza for the unexpected guests who showed up on a weekday, instead of cooking a proper meal; but this way I too could relax catching up on things we had missed out on each other over the past decade.

We brew some coffee in the electrical coffee maker, which the guests could help themselves to, again giving me more of a quality time I could enjoy with them rather than hiding in the kitchen all the time or worse yet, ushering them in to help make tea (which I have shamelessly done over the past).

This way I can entertain more guests than I normally would or could or even should. I love to host - love to make friends - love to keep friends - love to get together as much as possible. Definitely my love for my guests stay the same. It is how I show it has changed - I appreciate their time more than my fancy show.

There is one problem though - some friends are not happy. Am I imagining things? No, not at all.

They are so used to my overwhelming attention that now to see me just sit around and talk nonsense is hard for them to take. I am no longer the "perfect host" they have come to know of me as. I have become one of them - a cool host at that! Laid back, relaxed, nothing more, nothing less.

One even confronted me directly, "Queen! What is wrong with you?". "Nothing really; just taking it easy..." was my careful response. The Martha in me warns, "Get up! Spin!" but I shrug it off. "They are not here for your show, but your time, so stay!", Mary insists.

Only one thing is needed, spending time together; everything else is a distraction. Martha no more; becoming Mary...

16 comments:

KParthasarathi said...

Many feel hospitality is warm if the hosts are Marthas slogging in kitchen and serving them great food.Outsourcing food lacks the homely feel and the unique variety that only a home can deliver.It takes courage to turn a Mary,get things from outside or done by others and engage in banter on equal terms relaxing in the sofa.Then the distinctionb between guest and host disappear.
All said,the Martha in you would frequently rear her head only to be pushed down.
Do remember when you visit someone you may have to encounter a Mary.

gigihawaii said...

I love this post, because I know a person who is a Martha. Her food is excellent because she makes it all herself with no help from anyone. She is an excellent chef. Her husband who used to be the one to do the barbecue is deceased. So when the dinner is over, she washes the dishes and puts the leftovers in the fridge. By the time she is finished in the kitchen and comes back to the table to chat, we are all too tired and ready to go home!!!

Rachna said...

hmmm though I love cooking, when it is a get together with close friends, I would prefer to order from out of have a potlunch and spend time in enjoying each other's company.

http://rachnaparmar.com

anilkurup said...

Well,not quite sure what is good for you. Perhaps you could do the dishes well in time and then have ample time to be with the guest and do without the long face.

Back home we used to do ( I mean my wife) cook in advance and some friends also wanted to join us in the preparation so it was never Martha syndrome.

Bikramjit said...

hmmmm .. that why i only go to eat and dont invite anyone home he he he he :)

I agree with you , when someone comes home I ask them , this is made are they ok with it or should we just order or go out .. this way even i can go out ..

well friends who are not happy will understand one day

Bikram's

NRIGirl said...

@KP & friends: The interesting thing is I have never even once encountered a Martha among my hosts.

@Gigi: So, you say there are people like me! That makes me feel better.

@Rachna: Potluck is the way to go I agree.

@Anil: I had to smile at '(I mean my wife)' - which keeps you honest and gives a reason for Israel to remain aloof from kitchen duties...

@Bikram: I so want to visit you and yes we will eat out! :)

Black Walnut Pearl said...

Looking forward to meet Mary soon...

Black Walnut Pearl said...

Looking forward to meet Mary soon...:)

NRIGirl said...

Actually, I have seen one Martha who is worse than me.

We were at Phil's party where we hardly saw the hosts. It was an outdoor party in their make shift tent. There was tons of friends and such mouthwatering array of mussles in sauce, shrimps in garlic and so many other wonderful hot dishes, but Mrs.Phil was never out - not even once to say hello.

When we had our fill, we had to go find her in her kitchen where she was attending to few more desserts!

She even had some gifts for her guests - beautiful trio of wicker duck baskets which I so fondly use around my kitchen.

Such a lovely Martha!

NRIGirl said...

Looking forward to see you V! :)

....Petty Witter said...

Obviously a born worrier. Put your feet up, order that pizza and talk to your guests, after all I'm sure it is your company they prefer rather than any amount of home cooking.

deeps said...

according to me we all cant be Marys though she chose the better part, but without Marthas, Marys cant go on ha?

kavita said...

trial trial ...

kavita said...

Well ,I am a Martha but the only difference is that after clearing the table I leave after meal chores for later.I invite people mostly on lunch so that I have enough time later in the evening to take care of dishes and the other things. I cook surplus so that I don't have to cook for dinner.

Tomz said...

a very clever post hephzibah, i liked the way u used two biblre characters to point out ur worry, the way u solved it, and whose attitude was better. being mary is more enjoyable rite..?

kala said...

I just love to cook for the loved ones and guests and just enjoy serving them...

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