Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief

Mary and Martha

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Last week I went to see Jesus Christ Superstar. I couldn’t believe it took me 51 years to see it given my love for faith and music. Then it occurred to me that I may have needed to wait until now to appreciate the big picture of the message. In my earlier years, I would have been picking it apart with my fundamentalist mind.

I have to say I was riveted from the second it started to the second it ended. My entire being was flushed with goosebumps from the music and from the poignant message that seemed to come from every word, note and facial expression. At the end of it I was shocked. I thought it would be the Resurrection, accompanied by a “Jesus Christ Superstar” reprise. Instead, I was left with the crucifixion and a blood stained cross. It is a Good Friday message, not an Easter message.

Once again, I found myself in a session this week with a client that dove-tailed with my own life lessons I am navigating through. He was talking about a well-done sermon he had heard in church about the story of Mary and Martha. Martha was the busy one in the kitchen while Mary sat at the feet of Jesus. Martha eventually gets pissed off and asks Jesus why He doesn’t confront Mary for not helping with the work. He tries to explain that she has chosen the greater gift.

I’m a Martha by nature. I get it. I have tried very hard to consciously balance my Mary moments in life. His story reminded me of one of the scenes in Jesus Christ Superstar. Turns out it is one of his favorite shows as well, though he hasn’t re-visited it in many years. In the show, they depict the biblical story of Mary Magdalene coming to anoint Jesus’ feet with very expensive oil. Judas is furious. Do you know how many poor people you can feed with that kind of money? I get it. I would have had the same thought. Jesus again tries to explain the greater good.

Martha is doing good, responsible things. And worrying about being a good steward of your resources and helping the poor is also good. In fact, I would say they are both very Christian in their motivations. Yet somehow, there is this bigger picture that needs to be brought into balance.

I have to make myself stop when I have an opportunity to be with my grandkids. Every few hours I have to jump up and do some tasks that get the better of me, but I try to remember those relationships are the most important things.

My client totally got the connection I was making. We agreed that the message is the same in both of the biblical stories. We had a great few moments connecting in our own therapeutic relationship. There were even a couple of spots that approached emotional tears at the sacredness of what we were both growing in appreciation of. And once again, I probably got as much or more out of session than my client did.

So my thanks to the A.R.T. theater in Buffalo and all of its actors for using their talents to show an incredibly complex and moving rendition of the greatest love story ever told. Thanks to my client for sharing your life and insights with me. And of course, God is the at the center, the very breath that makes any connection to beauty or other humans possible and meaningful.

Grateful for these things as we approach Easter.


Author: Help for Healing

My name is Darcy Thiel. What people say they appreciate most about me is my genuine nature. I utilize my professional and personal experiences to increase my understanding and compassion to help others. My career has many faces, so let me tell you about a few. I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in NY State and am a couple and family therapist. As an Adult Planning Specialist and End of Life Doula, I take my experiences with my parents’ and husband's illnesses and passing to help others navigate the crazy, complicated medical world we live in. This dovetails with the books I have written. Bitter and Sweet: A Family’s Journey with Cancer, the prequel to Life After Death, on This Side of Heaven is an honest and raw perspective on coping with the diagnosis and subsequent loss of Tim, my spouse. I have done extensive speaking on the above topics through live audiences, radio shows, and an occasional TV spot. For more information, see my websites at,, or Copyright Help for Healing by Darcy Thiel © 2012-2019. All rights reserved.

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