Jesus made it clear that Mary made a better choice than her bustling sister Martha when she settled at his feet to listen.
We know that from Luke 10:38-42, and we know that we too should “chose the better part” by slowing down and listening to our Lord and Savior.
But that was then, and this is now, and now we have cell phones and all manner of social media keeping us connected 24/7, and, I know, you’re getting anxious just reading this paragraph.
So please forgive my harried pace and allow me to hit the escape key, and take a deep breath while slowly repeating to myself: “God in, fear out.”
That’s much better.
Okay, now where were we?
Oh yes, we were getting to the “better part” with Mary sitting quietly at the feet of Jesus.
Well, truth be told, I was anywhere but sitting quietly at the feet of my Lord and Savior the other day when the phone rang, and the caller was my friend Michael who said: “Dude, I know you’re busy, but I think I left my cell phone in your car last night when you gave me a ride home from the meeting.”
“Let me go look,” I said, wanting to throw the phone at the computer screen where shimmered an assigned story I was writing on deadline for a local newspaper.
I heard Michael protest as I leapt away from my desk, but I was in full interruption mode, so I stomped out to the car, fumbled around and presently found his cell phone under the passenger seat where he had left it after we had attended a meeting of spiritually minded people in a local church basement. The meeting, I vaguely recalled, had been all about spiritual progress, not spiritual perfection.
Nobody’s spiritually perfect in this life, I grumbled aloud as I stomped back into the house with Michael’s cell phone clenched in my fist. Oh, how I wanted to fling it all three-plus miles to his house.
But, no, there was Michael on the phone telling me not to bother.
Not to bother because he would gladly hop on his scooter and scoot on over to my house and fetch the phone, “Because, Dude, I know you’re really busy. Okay?”
“Okay, except I’ll have to meet you at the entrance to our subdivision, because we don’t allow motorcycles on our roads.”
“All right, but it’s a scooter, not a motorcycle, and'””
“I’ll meet you at the entrance in half an hour. All right?”
“Right. See you at the entrance.”
I stared ruefully at the unfinished newspaper story on my computer screen, shook my head, and, thankfully, saved the story before putting my computer to sleep.
Then I took off on foot with Michael’s cell phone planted in the deepest recesses of my back pocket. I was absolutely determined to deliver it safely to him and then get back to my story before my brain blew up, and I lost my newspaper gig, and the world, as I knew it, ended with a bang.
Or a whimper.
I didn’t really care, because my whole entire day had been interrupted, shattered and otherwise set on its ear, and I was not about to sit placidly at the feet of sweet Jesus while'”
Well, you get the drift of my thinking as I walked less than a mile out to the entrance to our sylvan subdivision in southwest Michigan.
Never mind that it was an absolutely gorgeous summer day with the cicadas calling in the trees and the birds flitting about and puffy clouds cavorting across an azure sky. All that was lost on me, because I was lost in my Martha the long-suffering servant funk.
I thought of perhaps praying at least a decade of the Rosary as I walked, and I remembered how I had preached to more than one CCD class the virtues of praying the Rosary while walking or running, but, no, I was a righteously angry writer who had been cruelly called away from his keyboard in mid-sentence.
Mid-sentence, mind you!
I thought of calling Michael on HIS cell phone and telling him I’d drop it by his house later while adding a few choice editorial comments about the very effrontery of even owning a cell phone when people somewhere were doing without, but then I realized that I couldn’t call Michael because I had HIS cell phone in MY back pocket.
I, of course, had no cell phone of my own'”a lot of good it would have done me anyway'”so I just chugged along our rolling dirt roads looking to discharge this errand of mercy or whatever it was as quickly as possible and then rush, race and hurry back to my desk so I could finally and completely finish my story for the local newspaper, and'”
Sorry, you’re getting anxious again, aren’t you?
I would too, if I had to read this.
So, let me cut the chase here by saying I got to the entrance long before Michael did.
Did I wait there for him to arrive on his scooter?
Did I pull out the Rosary I keep at the ready in my pocket for such occasions?
I decided, for whatever brilliant reason I had at the moment to continue walking on toward Michael’s house in the full expectation that I would soon meet him and his trusty scooter on the road.
Ah, the best laid plans o’ mice and men, as Robert Burns would say, gang aft agley.
I went one way, you see, and I soon could see that Michael had gone quite another way, and it was only when I was coming about in the suddenly sultry breeze and heading for home that I saw Michael some half-mile distant. I waved and hollered, but he didn’t see me for the life of me, and then he headed back the way he obviously realized he should have gone in the first place.
I ran to intercept him, but I was in no shape for running, having stuffed my temple of the Holy Spirit too full of cookies, cake, and ice cream.
My day, my life, and Western Civilization itself, were in utter ruin.
I cursed and knew it was only going to get worse.
And then I thought of Martha and Mary and Mary and Martha and merry little Mary there at the feet of Jesus and I simply said, “God, please help me. Now, if you please!”
God did, but he did it in a way that brought a smile to my frowning face: the appearance out of nowhere of my friend Shawn in his pick-up.
“Hey, McKelvy,” he called, “are you hunting rabbits on foot?”
“No,” I said, “I’m trying to catch up with him.” I pointed at Michael who was northbound on Prairie Road on his scooter to meet me at the entrance in order to retrieve his cell phone so as not to totally interrupt me.
“Calm down, we’ll catch him,” Shawn said. “Now take a deep breath and tell me what the heck you’re doing.”
I explained and said I had just asked God for help and then found him passing in his pick-up.
“Coincidences are God’s way of maintaining his anonymity,” Shawn said. “Write this one up as a God moment. Okay?”
And it was all okay as we easily overtook Michael on his scooter, and the three of us had a friendly little chat at the entrance to my subdivision, and I gave Michael his cell phone, and I took some deep breaths and walked calmly back to my computer screen where I managed to finish my newspaper story well within the deadline.
Thank you, Jesus!
Thank you for letting me sit at your feet and reminding me to “let go and let God.”
Works every time.