25 June 2006

Pros and Cons of Being Martha

This wasn't what I originally intented to write about, but I need to write it down before I forget what it was about. So Saturday's intended blog entry is being put off indefinitely.

As this semester has come to a close, I've noticed a problem I have that's always been lurking in the back of my mind, but I never really bring out and conquer. It's one that should be obvious, but for some reason I manage to always ignore it. The problem is this: I am always living waiting for something to end, for the future, I guess, but mostly for change.

In particular, during the semester I tend to rationalize the fact that I have no time to do what I want by the fact that it will soon be over. This semester has really been the worst: I literally go to school everyday, come home, eat, do homework, and sleep. When I do have free time, I spend it vegging out in front of my computer because my brain and will are simply so fried that I can't do anything else. When the semester ends, I spend a few days just hibernating in my apartment recovering. But then, I don't learn from my experience and simply load myself up again with way more than I can handle.

I probably get this from my dad: he tends to go in this same full-throttle/crash-and burn cycle. He'll work a sixty hour week, perhaps staying at work for even 48 hours straight. Then he comes home and crashes through the weekend. I know this is not a good way to live; as I said to my dad, I don't want to live waiting for my life to be over.

So while I've been pondering this, I came across in my scripture reading the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10. When people discuss this story, we talk about the problem of being too busy to stop and listen to the gospel. The work Martha is doing is something that needs to be done, but sometimes it is more important to stop and listen to the gospel. Mary is symbolic of the quiet listener, Martha the overworked and distracted disciple.

However, this time as I was reading this story, I looked up a cross reference and read in John 11 the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. I hadn't ever read this story focusing on the Mary/Martha aspect, but when I did, I noticed another aspect of this relationship which caused me to reconsider the meaning of the story. When Jesus comes to Bethany, Martha immediately comes to him, and when asked if she believes Christ has the power to raise the dead, she immediately says yes. But when Mary comes to the Lord, she seems, at least to me, to be in total despair, lacking the hope that Martha seems to have in the gospel.

The conclusion I came to was this: living a busy and less active life sometimes leaves little time to contemplate the gospel, but I think it gives us a testimony of the principles of the gospel in action in our lives. By sitting around contemplating the gospel, we can gain a deep understanding of the principles involved, but it doesn't necessarily give us a testimony of their truth. The gospel is not something that can be studied in isolation; we cannot learn the gospel without having something to apply it about. The most boring and least strong members of the church are those who spend all day studying the gospel. Really, it becomes a sort of inbreeding: you have no substance to live the gospel about and your belief in it becomes founded only on your study of it. But when you live, you see the application of the principles in your life, and your testimony grows stronger even though you may not have as much time to study.

So, as seems to be the conclusion of the most of my posts lately, it's all about balance. I need to find the point in my life when I won't be so overwhelmed that I don't have time to contemplate, but also be busy enough to have experiences and deepen my testimony of the gospel.


Marisa VanSkiver said...

I took the geek test, and I am 26.23274% geek, or Total Geek! Yay me!

Marisa VanSkiver said...

Oh, and Brian's plan right now is to work out in Michigan, live at home, save some money. Of course the rebuttal I've been getting is that it's for a bigger engagement ring for me, but whatever. Honestly though, I don't think December is possible. Sad, I know. Becky and Rachel will be so disappointed. :)

alishka babushka said...

i like this post, because its true. we work and work and work and then crash...only to keep going. college students do it soo much and many don't learn their lesson and end up doing the same thing as an 'adult'...new goal: learn how to play and not overload! love ya liz!