Last Sunday afternoon I was very tired, and decided to sit up in bed and finish off a little knitting project while Peter watched the children.
The sun was already getting low in the sky, casting the bark of the tree outside the window in the slightest golden hue.
Soon it would be a fiery amber and it would get busy again with the children’s dinner, bath and bed time.
But for the moment, it was nice to be able to sit and do nothing for a while, to have no immediate demands on me.
Then the phone rang and I heard Peter say that we were doing nothing and that would be fine, to come over.
And I have to admit that my heart sank a little, selfish little thing that it is, and tried to stem the urge to be immediately negative even though I knew it must be a loved family member or friend: What did the person or people want? How long were they going to stay?
And 20 minutes later she arrived, to the great delight of the children, and with a gift of two full boxes of pantry items for us which she helped to pack away in our cupboards.
She let the children clamber alongside her and onto her lap while having her cup of tea, and her presence was like a little balm, a pick-me-up even better than the little nap I might have grabbed if she hadn’t come by.
Quite a few times lately I’ve found it necessary to force myself to go to an event, or visit people, or have people over, and have always enjoyed it, but found it usually takes a toll of some sort.
On the Saturday night before this we had two dear friends come for dinner, whom we only get to see rarely now, and it was so good for the soul but it meant a late night from which I needed the Sunday to recover.
And I kind of resent that part at the moment, even though I know it’s only temporary, in this third trimester of pregnancy, that to spend time with people, or to have to dress and pack up and drive anywhere, or clean up the house for visitors, is taking a lot out of me.
“I haven’t been to Mass yet,” I told my friend over our cups of tea.
“Peter took most of the kids this morning. I don’t really feel like it now.”
She said: “You’ve got a good excuse. But maybe it will give you a break.”
She left, and I went to Mass by myself.
And while there I thought of how nice that short, unexpected visit had been, and then I thought of Mary, of how her presence to the pregnant Elizabeth was such an unadulterated joy, and how her visit to anyone’s home must have always been such a balm to anyone within who was a little, or a lot, weary in any way.
That’s the kind of woman I would like to be, one day, impossible of course without God’s grace, but I can hope and pray to one day be like this.