Invisible Parents / Cathedrals
I'm invisible. The invisible Parent. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?
I'm a clock to ask,' What time is it?'
I'm a TV guide to answer,
'What number is the Disney Channel?'
I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England ... She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:
‘with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'
No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
The passion of their building was fuelled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
As I read the book, I have this feeling that the missing piece has fallen into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no house cleaning or laundry, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.
When I really think about it, I don't want my children to tell the friend they are bringing home - my parents’ do this and do that for us and our home. That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want them to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'you're gonna love it there.'
As parents, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right.