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The invisible woman
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Did you ever have the feeling of being invisible? Did you ever feel nobody is appreciating your hard work? That is something that happens to a lot of people, at least in some situations, but it most usually happens to mothers.

Listen to this woman who wants to share a story with you.


Dedicated to all the mothers in the world, especially mine :)

It started to happen gradually. I would walk into a room and say something and no one would notice. I would say, "Turn the TV down, please," and nothing would happen. So, I would get louder. "Turn the TV down, please!" Finally, I would have to go over and turn the TV down myself. And then I started to notice it elsewhere.

My husband and I had been at a party for about three hours and I was ready to go. I looked over and he was talking to a friend from work and I walked over and... he kept right on talking. He didn't even turn toward me. That's when I started to put it together.  He can't see me. I'm invisible. I'm invisible! Then I started to notice it more and more. I would walk my son to school and his teacher would say, "Jake, who's that with you?" and my son would say, "Nobody." Granted, he's just five, but, nobody?

One night a group of us gathered and we were celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just taken this fabulous trip and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in and I was sitting there looking around at the other women at the table. I'd put my make-up on in the car on the way there. I had on an old dress because it was the only thing clean and I had my unwashed hair pulled up in a banana clip and I was feeling pretty darn pathetic. And then Janice turned to me and she said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I didn't understand. And then I read her inscription. She wrote, "With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."

You can't name the names of the people who built the great cathedrals. Over and over again looking at these mammoth works, you scan down to find the names and it says, "Builder: unknown, unknown, unknown." They completed things not knowing that anyone would notice. There's a story about one of the builders who was carving a tiny bird inside a beam that would be covered over by a roof. And someone came up to him and said, "Why are you spending so much time on something no one will ever see?" And it's reported that the builder replied, "Because God sees." They trusted that God saw everything. They gave their whole lives for a work, a mammoth work they would never see finished. They showed up day after day.

Some of these cathedrals took over a hundred years to build. That was more than one working man's lifetime. Day after day. And they made personal sacrifices for no credit. Showing up at a job they would never see finished for a building their name would never be on. One writer even goes so far as to say, "No great cathedrals will ever be built again because so few people are willing to sacrifice to that degree."

I closed the book and it was as if I heard God say, "I see you. You are not invisible to me. No sacrifice is too small for me to notice. I see every cupcake baked, every sequin sewn on and I smile over everyone. I see every tear of disappointment when things don't go the way you want them to go. But, remember you are building a great cathedral. It will not be finished in your lifetime. And sadly, you will never get to live there. But, if you build it well, I will."

At times, my invisibility has felt like an affliction to me, but it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my own pride. It's ok that they don't see. It's ok that they don't know. I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college, "You're not gonna believe what my mom does. She gets up at four in the morning and she bakes pies and hand bastes a turkey and she presses all the linens.

Even if I do all those things, I don't want him to say that. I want him to want to come home. And, secondly, I want him to say to his friend, "You're gonna love it there." It's ok that they don't see. We don't work for them. We work for Him. We sacrifice for Him. They will never see, not if we do it right, not if we do it well. Let's pray that our work will stand as a monument to an even greater God.

I WOULD WALK= We can use WOULD to talk about a past habit. In this sentence it is equivalent to "used to". You'll hear her using "would" this way all through her speech.

GO OVER= Approach, go there.

TURN THE TV DOWN= Reduce the volume of the television.

ELSEHWERE= Somewhere else; in other places.

I LOOKED OVER= I looked in that direction.

I WALKED OVER= I went to where he was, I walked to that place.

HE KEPT RIGHT ON TALKING= "He kept talking" (or "he kept on talking") means "he continued talking" (KEEP (on)+ -ing). The word "right" is used to emphasize the particle "on", so here it is emphasizing the idea of continuity.

TO PUT IT TOGETHER= To draw a conclusion, to deduce what was happening.

I WOULD WALK MY SON TO SCHOOL= If you walk somebody to a place, you take them there (or go along with them) walking. The verb WOULD expresses a habit in the past (= used to).

GRANTED= Of course.
If you take something for granted you consider it obvious. We can use the word GRANTED to signal that what you're going to say is important in this reasoning and you don't ignore it, but still, it's not strong enough to destroy your reasoning. (often used with BUT)

GATHERED= If people gather, they get together.

FABULOUS= Wonderful, fantastic.

SHE WAS GOING ON AND ON ABOUT...= She was talking non-stop about...
The phrase "on and on" is more emphatic than simply "she was going on about...".

ON THE WAY THERE= As I was going there.

I HAD ON AN OLD DRESS= I was wearing an old dress (it would be more normal to say "I had an old dress on", but both are possible).

A BANANA CLIP= A hair clip in the shape of a banana. (see picture of a hair clip)

PRETTY DARN PATHETIC= Really really horrible. The word PRETTY is often used in conversational English with the same meaning as "rather, quite", and DARN is an euphemism to avoid the emphatic word "damn", which is considered a bit rude.

A BOOK ON...= A book about...

OVER AND OVER AGAIN= An emphatic equivalent to "again and again", to express repetition.

MAMMOTH= A big hairy animal very similar to an elephant that used to live in Siberia (now extinct). It is used here as an adjective meaning "huge, immense, very big", in the sense of "very important, really impressive".

SCAN= Have a quick look through a text looking for a specific piece of information.

CARVING= To carve is to make a sculpture of something, especially on wood.

BEAM= a wooden bar used for supporting a roof (see picture) . Today they're usually made of iron.

IT'S REPORTED THAT...= They say that...

SHOW UP= Go to a place because you are required there.

OVER A HUNDRED YEARS= More than 100 years.

LIFETIME= The period of time from your birth to your death.

FOR NO CREDIT= If you do something for no credit, you do it generously, expecting no reward or recognition.

CUPCAKE= (see picture)

BAKED= If you bake something you cook it in the oven.

SEQUIN= Little flat circles of a shiny material sewn on clothes to give them a metallic shiny appearance (see picture)

SEWN= (sew-sewed-sewn) To make, repair, or fasten by stitching, as with a needle and thread or a sewing machine.

BUT, IF YOU BUILD IT WELL, I WILL= But if you build it well, I [= God] will live there (= it will be a holy "place").

AN AFFLICTION= A sad thing, something that causes you suffering.

DISEASE= Illness.

SELF-CENTEREDNESS= The quality of being self-centric. A self-centric person is only thinking on themself.

ANTIDOTE= Something that eliminates the effect of a poison.

PRIDE= A feeling of being superior to others. It may also have a positive meaning (awareness of being valuable and important), but in this context it is used in its negative meaning (being more important than the others).

HAND BASTES A TURKEY= Bastes a turkey by hand, with no mechanical help. To baste is a special technique in cooking (which I completely ignore). A turkey is an animal similar to a chicken but bigger.

SHE PRESSES= To press clothes is to iron them (see picture)

LINENS= sheets, pillowcases, tablecloths, handkerchiefs and napkins. These things were usually made of linen (a fabric made out of the plant of flax), and though they're usually made of cotton now, they're still referred to, in general, as "the linens".

WE WORK FOR HIM= We do things for God.
When we refer to God, we usually write the pronouns, possessives etc. in capital letters ("Him").

© Angel Castaño 2008 Salamanca / Poole - free videos to learn real English online || InfoPrivacyTerms of useContactAbout
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