If a tree falls in the forest…

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make any sound? 

It always annoyed me, that old philosophical question.  Seemingly deep but mostly reduced to a cliché, trite and shallow from overuse.  Well.  Then it suddenly applies. 

I have spent a lot of time wondering about the things I do all day long, the things no one sees, the things that seem to make zero difference in the world at large.  If I do them and nobody sees, does it make any difference?  Do I make any real noise?  After most of 2 years being fairly isolated due to the wonderful world of fibromyalgia, this question has resonated in my heart.  When confronted with the idea that I might never return to the “outside world” or workforce, what then do I contribute within my four walls?  

It’s a bigger question, reaching beyond those working life around chronic illness.  I’ve talked to two of my very dear friends this week who echoed these thoughts. 

Though in different seasons, both women wondered aloud to me whether what they were doing inside their four walls mattered.  Social girls, both, now navigating a season of solitary work for different reasons.  One friend is the homeschooling mom of 4, her oldest about to launch into the military.  One friend is another homeschooling mom who is also the full-time caregiver for her elderly mother. 

 Both women work behind the scenes, without recognition, without most people even knowing what they do.  But they put their all into it.  And then they get up the next day and do it again.  They each voiced to me the burden of the everyday, the sameness, the hard pieces of this season of in-between.  And they wonder if they make any sound in this world. 

But this is Holy work.  Truly.  I remind myself as I reminded them.  This behind-the-scenes-daily-sameness is what keeps life going.  This is the underpinning of it all; without these sacred routines of service and love, their loved ones’ lives would not work.  Nor would my loved ones’ lives.  

   In Matthew 23, Jesus calls the Pharisees out on their desire to do everything to impress other people, more concerned with the opinions of those around them than with truly pleasing God and serving others.  This is the opposite of the heart my sweet friends carry, these warrior women who love and serve God and their families fiercely.  But I know so many who understand this feeling of invisibility, myself included.  Know you aren’t invisible.  Know God sees and knows.  The work done within our own four walls is done not to be seen by society, but is done to bless those we love. 

We make our own sounds, sometimes only heard by those at closest range to us and by our Creator.  In serving them, we serve Him.  In loving behind the scenes, in doing this Holy work, we bless His heart.

 Whatever our season, we need to (meaning I need to) keep foremost in our mind the audience of One we truly serve, whether our voices and our noises echo outside our four walls or not.  They echo in eternity.

 

Kathleen Tysinger
I’m a Christian girl on the journey through an adventure-filled life, a blogger, writer, speaker, and mom to two college students. I am blessed to be married to my high school sweetheart and we make our home near Sacramento, California. While I spent years as an English teacher and in the business world, I was given the gift of a “different-paced” life through the onset of a chronic illness in 2015, and my adventure continues…

2 Comments

  1. Your writing touched me, funny how we all see things differently. The 2 women you wrote about I see as doing great things for God. They are still raising kids, homeschooling and taking care of a elderly parent. Truly Gods work ( I at least see it that way) but I’m not in their shoes. I have at one time been there but now I find myself constantly wondering God what do you want from me?? I am now in the season of the empty nest, and somehow feel useless. In between churches doesn’t help either. Not serving God in church constantly makes me wonder my value, because let’s face it when you have had pounded in your head that serving at church is your path to heaven you feel at times your truly not on the yellow brick
    Road. Today I will put all these things aside and know my Lord loves me for who he created me to be not for what I’m doing. I think as women ( at least I do) if we aren’t doing something spectacular than somehow it diminishes our worth. So untrue, only the evil one feeds us that message. Thank you Kathleen for a beautiful writing that spoke to my heart and blessed my day. I will walk knowing my Lord loves me simply because he created me .

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