Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jesus at the Home of Mary and Martha

Years and years and years ago...

Clark and I had only been dating for a few weeks before Christmas rolled around and we were faced with that awkward decision whether or not to get each other gifts. When he found out that I had never seen the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off he was aghast, took the initiative and got me the DVD for Christmas. I got him... nothing. Instead, I got on a plane headed for Kuwait and hardly talked to him for three weeks over the semester break. Sometimes I can be rather self-centered. Also, when it comes to giving and receiving gifts, I'm usually pretty indifferent (not my love language, I guess). But thanks to Clark and his knack for gift giving over the years, I've gained a greater appreciation for a well-thought out present.

I loved his Christmas gift for me. Loved, loved, loved. Clark ordered a canvas print of a favorite Minerva Teichert painting, had it mounted and built a beautiful walnut frame for it. I love this painting. I love the story it depicts. I love the frame because he was the one to build it.


For those not familiar with the story, sisters Mary and Martha host Jesus and his disciples in their home. Martha busies herself with preparations to cook and serve the meal while Mary sits at the Savior's feet, listening and learning. At one point, a somewhat perturbed Martha asks Jesus if it's really alright that her sister isn't helping her? He responds that yes, it is alright for "Mary hath chosen the good part."

I love how Teichert has placed Mary at the center of the painting, bold in her red garments. She stands out to me. As if to say, "HEY MARGARET! Put down that mop and really listen right now. Listen to the Savior. Listen to your children. Listen to your spouse. The cleaning/cooking/emails/homework/whatever can wait. Just sit at my feet right now and learn about what really matters."

It's not that Martha has made a bad choice here and that's reflected in the painting. She's not far from the Savior. She appears to be attentive to what he is teaching but a little distracted. She is more muted, less noticeable. Her service is valuable to the Lord and he doesn't chastise her for choosing to prepare the meal. Instead, he lovingly tries to get her to focus on what matters most, the "good part." He's sharing his words, his teachings, his spirit and she is missing it because of all the STUFF she's preoccupied with. Sound familiar? It certainly does to me.

That's why I love this painting. It's got me thinking about New Year's resolutions and such. Like Mary, I want to sit at the Savior's feet and soak up his teachings. Like Martha, I have responsibilities I can't ignore. In a world that is FULL of distractions, it's easy to let your priorities get out of whack. This story reminds me that I ought to be more like Mary, but I can't help but notice that Martha's in the picture too. Temporal progression is important and worthwhile, but not as important and "good" as spiritual progression. I need to take time each day to study at the Savior's feet. It is there that I will find peace and direction.

In less nebulous and more quantifiable New Year's resolutions, I have just one. I want to read the entire issue of the Ensign each month. Sounds easy, right? We shall see. I thought if I made it public, I might feel more accountable and it's more likely to get done. Clark and I had a goal to not watch any TV in our bedroom but that resolution went out the window as soon as he became an invalid. Oh well, there's always next year.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Happy New THUMB, I mean YEAR!

Oh man, what a week. 2012 is off to a rocky start.

 Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

On Monday around 9:15 in the morning Clark cut his thumb (essentially) off while using his table saw out in the garage. I know it was 9:15 in the morning because right after it happened I remembered to look at the clock. I had a feeling that time would be of the essence. Turns out it was. We got to the hospital and it wasn't long before they wheeled him off to the OR to either amputate his damaged thumb or try to repair it. Luckily, they were able to reattach it.

Since Monday, I've made the 35 minute drive to and from the hospital many times. I think about how Clark sat quietly in the front seat for 35 minutes holding his severed thumb and apologizing for "ruining" the day off that we had planned to spend as a family. Before we left, I asked him not to tell me how bad it was until we got to the hospital. I can't believe he honored that. You better believe if the tables were turned, I'd be screaming like a crazy thumbless troll and begging for morphine popsicles.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
Here's Clark right after getting out of surgery. He will have no recollection of this picture. That tube thingie was blowing warm air on this thumb to improve blood circulation.

Like I said, it's been a long and crazy week. But my heart feels full right now:

- I'm grateful that I didn't have to go search for my husband's thumb in a pile of sawdust out in the garage and put it on ice before leaving for the hospital.
- I'm grateful that we live next door to awesome neighbors with firefighter/EMT expertise. Jared took a look at Clark's thumb and told us to go to the right hospital. Had we gone to any other hospital, we would have wasted precious time being transfered.
- I'm grateful for modern medicine, titanium rods and a determined Turkish plastic surgeon who, despite my best (and poorly timed) efforts to make conversation about the Hagia Sophia, was more focused on getting Clark into the OR.
- I'm grateful for Clark's new Kindle Fire. It was a great distraction while I sat in the OR waiting room imagining the possibility of life married to a short-thumbed man.
- I'm grateful for our ward family and particularly for the bishop of our ward who showed up at the hospital unannounced on Monday night and didn't laugh at me when I finally decided to unleash some of the "weepiness" that had been building up all day long. I am also grateful for Priesthood blessings.
- I'm grateful for my mother-in-law who hit the road just hours after the accident to be with my kids and my sister-in-law Callie for picking up where she left off. There were times when I wished I didn't have so much help available. That hospital cot was no where near as comfortable as my bed at home. And did I mention that the doctor insisted on keeping Clark's room temperature at a minimum of 83 degrees and checking his thumb temperature every hour AROUND THE CLOCK?!? Yeah, not ideal sleeping conditions. And as much as I begged, they wouldn't give me any morphine popsicles to help me sleep. Still, I'm thankful for the resources I have that allowed me to stay at the hospital.
- I'm grateful for my sister for driving three hours from Prescott to spend two nights here at my house. I am deeply touched when I think of her folding my special underwear and emptying all the trash cans in the house. Even the really stinky one full of dirty diapers in Asher's room. Holy cow, I love my sister.
- As much as I hate dealing with our insurance company, I'm super grateful we have health insurance. When all is said and done, Clark will have spent a total of 6 nights in the hospital (fingers crossed that he gets released tomorrow). We probably could have gone on an all expense paid 10 day cruise for the amount we'll spend to meet our deductible and co-insurance for this hospital stay. But it could always be worse. Much, much worse if we had no insurance at all. Plus, this was a vacation of sorts. I haven't had this much uninterrupted alone time with Clark in awhile. There's nothing quite as romantic as giving your spouse (who has been confined to his bed for three days in an 83 degree room) a sponge bath.
- Most of all, I'm grateful for Clark, his calm nature and his sense of humor through all of this. I know it's just a thumb, but this small brush with debility has reminded me of how grateful I am for his good health and well, for him in general. I sure love that thumb and the man attached to it.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App