Martha

What do you know of me?
As if I even have to ask
(I wish I had been named Mary
All of the good stories are told about Marys)

Let me tell you what you know of me
You know that I was worried and distracted.
You know that I complained – complained to HIM
That my sister (who is, of course, named Mary)
Wasn’t doing woman’s work.
You know that he rebuked me
“Martha, Martha…there is need of only one thing.”
You think that all he ever said to me was
That Mary had chosen better?
(Well of course she had
She had chosen to act like a man
Who can sit at the feet of a rabbi
And think and learn and question.
I guess I should have acted like a man
Sat at his feet and waited –
Waited for him to bless more loaves and fishes
Turn more water into wine
And, while he was at it, clean up everything.)

Oh, sweet Jesus, I do not want this bitterness,
Help thou my bitterness.

Do you remember that I went to meet him
In the dark time after Lazarus died, before he lived again?
I went because I trusted in his love
I believed in his power
I knew who and what he is
Do you remember that?
Do you remember that I was the one
Me
Who went back and got Mary,
Who wouldn’t leave off crying
Told her that she should go to him
That he wanted to see her
Or do you only remember that he rebuked me
Again
Just because I got scared
(I was always a worrier, always the practical one)
Scared of what we would see – and smell
When that stone was rolled away.

(I wish I had been named Mary.
Maybe then I wouldn’t have been the practical one.)

Maybe then I wouldn’t have been the one
Who waited on them at dinner
Made sure everyone had enough to eat.
I thought that was the right, the loving thing to do;
I thought that was what I, a woman, could do for him.
I served them all, all those he loved and trusted
And that is all they tell of me, “Martha served.”
But of Mary they tell how she anointed his feet with pure nard
(They don’t mention that she purchased it with my household money)
And how she dried his feet with her hair
(Which I, of course, later had to help her wash)

I do love her, Lord, help thou my unlove.

I am who I am
I am as I was made to be
Mostly I enjoy serving others
Always I love him
I just don’t like the way
The men choose to remember me
As a woman they can despise
For being like most women.

[Luke 10:38-42; John 11:1-45 and 12:1-8]

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