When I'm in a social group - wedding, funeral, ward/Relief Society social type setting - I'm really happy to just disappear into the kitchen and keep busy serving refreshments or cleaning up, or whatever needs to be done. I'm happy to go early and stay late, but much more at ease in the kitchen than in the cultural hall mingling with people and finding things to say.
But as I've given Mary a voice - she who feels totally inept in the kitchen, burning the bread and undercooking the stew - and despairing that her only talent lies in teaching, I've come to see a different side of these two scriptural sisters. And discovered that I am more like Mary than I ever thought.
I love sitting at the feet of our leaders and absorbing their thoughts and learning the things of eternity. I love studying the scriptures and reading the words of the prophets. And I love teaching the things I've learned. There is something exciting - something that stirs my heart - when I'm teaching.
So though I have always been a Martha, loving to serve and feeling more comfortable in the background, I have realized I have a direct kinship to Mary. I really love this picture of Mary and Martha by Simon Dewey. We received permission to use all his pictures in Emily Freeman's book (21 Days Closer to Christ) and to use her thoughts in our presentation. I've studied this picture closely and discovered that he may have captured the real Martha more than other painters have done before.
At first glance, Martha appears sad and the common perception would be that she is resentful that she has to serve and Mary gets to sit at the Savior's feet and learn. But if you look closely at Martha, I feel her expression is one of love for the Savior. I see that her expression mirrors that of Mary, just from a different angle. The sisters are both adoring their Master, and both are listening. Martha is just going about her tasks serving as she listens, content knowing where her talents lie.
So I'm pleased with my new discoveries of myself. I can still be happy in the kitchen, busily accomplishing important things, (after all, someone has to feed the masses) while I listen and heed my Master. And then I can revert to my Mary side, and go and teach the things I've learned. I can have the best of both worlds. Does it get better than that?