It doesn't take advanced calculus or a degree in astronomy to see that it's been nearly a year since I last wrote. I wish I could say I stopped writing because I was performing on Broadway or starting my own business or becoming Zen. In truth I stopped writing because I had started to feel invisible and I was pretty sure nobody cared whether or not I wrote so I just stopped.
Unfortunaly it wasn't just in reguards to my writing that I was feeling lost and invisible. I was starting to feel used up and spent in just about every aspect of my life-church, home, family, friends.....everything I did went unnoticed, so why bother trying.
I read a book several years back by Nicole Johnson called The Invisible Woman. Apparenetly this feeling of invisibility is common for women. In her book Nicole Johnson wrote about how being a wife and mother is a lot like the work of building ancient cathedrals. So many of these beautiful monuments built to honor God still stand today as a large, visible testiments of devotion and sacrifice and yet for the most part we don't know the names of those who worked so hard to erect these monumnets. They did their work for only God to know. The point of all this talk about cathedrals was to draw a pareallel in the lives of mothers, meaning we too are laying the foundtain of a great work that, in many instances, only God can see. There is a paragraph in the book that sort of sums up the author's point:
It was almost as if I heard God say, "Charlotte, I see you. You are not invisible to me. I see the sacrifices you make every day. I miss nothing. No act of kindness, no peanut butter sandwich made, no shoe selection is too small for me to notice and smile over. I see your tears of disappointment when you feel overlooked or when things don't go the way you want them to. But you are buidling a great cathedral, and you cannont possibly see right now what it will ultimately become. It will not be finished in your lifetime, and you will never be able to live there, but if you build it well, I will."
For a little while this idea gave meaning to my mundane tasks of folding laundry and washing dishes and mopping floors. For a little while I was able to imagine that all of these seemingly inconsequential chores were building something bigger and greater that I couldn't yet see. But, unfortunaly, those feelings didn't last for long. Soon it all felt tedius again and I felt more invisible then ever.
This feeling of invisibility kept me from reaching out beyond the walls of my home. Again, I figured nobody cared so why bother. I quit trying to make friends, quit trying to better myself, quit trying to make sense of it all.
But something incredible happend this last weekend at a magical place called 27 Powers Ct. Andria and I attended a creative retreat. I'm not sure what I was expecting or hoping for when we first signed up to attend way back in March. I think I mostly just wanted to see and spend time with Andria and this gave us an excuse. What I ended up reciveing was that and so much more.
What ended up happening was that an amazing group of women all gathered together at 27 Powers Ct. and lead by Andrea Scher and Laurie Wagner we painted and we wrote and we told stories and we cried a little and laughed a little and we ate and cried a little more and somewhere in the middle of it all I felt seen again! A safe circle was created in which we ALL shared of oursevles and everybody else listened when somebody else talked and it was amazing! I didn't have to compete for attention or recognition or understanding-because we all gave that to each other freely all weekend long.
But here's the really amazing thing-as soon as I started to feel seen by these wonderful women it seems like the rest of the world started to see me again, too. It's as if I came out from underneath the table and everybody went, oh, there you are. I can see you again. I didn't communicate any of this idea of feeling seen again to anybody back home-and yet when I arrived at the airport my husband had flowers for me.