The book H.G. Wells DIDN’T write: “The Invisible MOM”

The Invisible Mother

by Nicole Johnson

One day I was walking my son Jake to school. I was holding his hand and we were about to cross the street when the crossing guard said to him, “Who is that with you, young fella?”

“Nobody,” he shrugged.

Nobody? The crossing guard and I laughed. My son is only five, but as we crossed the street I thought, “Oh my goodness, I’m nobody?”

As Nobody, I would walk into a room and no one would notice. I would say something to my family, like “Turn the TV down, please.” And nothing would happen. No one would get up or even make a move for the remote. I would stand there for a minute, and then I would say again, a little louder, “Would someone turn the TV down?” Nothing.

That’s when I started putting all the pieces together. I don’t think anyone can see me.

I’m invisible.

It all began to make sense! The blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’d think, “Can’t you see I’m on the phone?”

Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner. No one can see me, because I’m the Invisible Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more. Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I’m merely a clock to ask, “What time is it?” I’m a satellite guide to answer, “What number is the Disney Channel?”

Some days I’m a crystal ball: “Where’s my other sock? Where’s my phone? What’s for dinner?”

Hands, a clock, a crystal ball—but always invisible.

One night, some girlfriends and I were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and was telling wonderful stories. I sat there, looking around at the others all so put-together, so visible and vibrant. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic when my friend 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.”

In the days ahead I read—no—I devoured the book. And I discovered what would become for me, four life-changing truths:

1. No one can say who built the great cathedrals—we have no record of their names.

2. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.

3. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

4. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

 In the book, there was the legend of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built. He saw a worker carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, “Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.” And the worker replied, “Because God sees.”

After reading that, I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall 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 sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, no last minute errand 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. But I see.”

When I choose to view myself as a great builder—instead of Invisible Mom—I keep the right perspective.

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, “My mom gets up at four in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand-bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.” That would mean I’d built a monument to myself! But I don’t want that—I just want him to want to come home with a friend and share a wonderful meal as a family.

The author of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. I disagree.

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right—which is why we may feel invisible some days. But one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

Video link

Submitted by AndyP/Doria2

Editor’s note: Happy Mother’s Day!

Thanks to my parents and family … I know man and I know God. I know love, and I know wrath. I know justice, and I know peace … and I know that I have nothing to fear from any of them.

by Doug Lawrence

I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s, in a (fairly) conventional family consisting of dad, mom, two brothers and a sister.

Dad took the car to work each day. Mom stayed home and took care of the house and kids. No surprises there.

We all went to Catholic school … but that’s not the point. The point is how mom ran the household … and particularly … the way she personally maintained family standards.

Even though we rarely had any serious discussions, there was no doubt that we were unconditionally loved and cared for … mainly because that’s pretty much all that mom did … 24/7 and 365. Of course, dad’s job (and his personal commitment to the family) made possible that extraordinary level of “intensive care”.

The house was always spotless. Meals were prepared on time and with abundance. Our clothing, grooming, and personal behavior were always closely and very effectively monitored … sometimes through “mysterious” means. Family outings were modest affairs, but frequent. Holidays were indeed feasts, with Christmas and Easter being number one and number two (but not necessarily in that order). Sundays were reserved for Mass and for family.

That’s just the way things were. We never questioned why.

Nothing went unnoticed, and anything important to mom could never be considered (by us) as irrelevant or insignificant, since we knew with certainty that a fate worse than death awaited all those who might transgress.

The means of our execution was the dreaded “whipstrap”!

Reputed to be a family heirloom of indeterminate age, the whip strap had been fashioned from a stout piece of leather, roughly three inches wide and twenty-four inches long. The first part served as a handle. The last was cut into a classic “cat o’ nine tails” … and it was truly awesome to behold!

The “instrument” typically need not even be displayed, since the mere mention of it was usually sufficient to restore order. But when partial measures were unsuccessful … deploying the strap … and applying a stroke or two, usually did the trick.

Mom was in pretty good physical shape (probably from all that walking … since she didn’t drive … and there was no outrunning her. She was even known to leap fences (and reportedly, tall buildings) in s single bound. And should we have been fortunate enough to discover a hiding place that was (as yet) unknown or inaccessible to her, dad would always be home, by six.

There was no escape!

The carnage of the strap was immense … and the suffering impossible to imagine … at least for a moment or two … in our young minds. Yet we all survived … and thrived … mainly because we were able to develop a good, clear sense of what was right and what was wrong. We also learned that actions brought sure and certain consequences … and sometimes, those consequences could be unpleasant.

The “whipstrap” effectively symbolized all of that potential unpleasantness. In this, a vision of Hell itself could not have been any more effective.

Years later … studying the Old Testament of the Bible … I suddenly realized that all the carnage and strife recorded therein really wasn’t much different than what went on back home … albeit on a much grander scale.

God lovingly cared for his children. God had particular standards and preferences, and when the “kids” got out of hand, God did what was necessary … for their own good … to reign them in.

Evil, in the person of Satan, made the problems in the Bible much more intractable, and the consequences much more severe, but the “model” still works, since God remains the master of life and death, and he is most certainly able to transcend any and all human sufferings and failings … either in this world … or the next.

Back home, should there have ever been any doubt about the fairness of our punishment, a hug from mom or dad was typically all that was necessary to fix things. No harm. No foul. Life went on.

My Catholic faith informs me that a “hug” from the Almighty would undoubtedly have the same effect.

So, you see … thanks to my parents and my family … I know man and I know God. I know love, and I know wrath. I know justice, and I know peace … and I know that I have nothing to fear from any of them.

My mom and dad told me so and my God confirmed it … in his Word … and through his one, holy, apostolic and Catholic Church.

It doesn’t get much simpler than that!