I’m so Blue!!!


I had an email exchange with an Orthodox mother on a number of domestic issues and how they relate to spirituality.  As she described her various problems, she told me that she was suffering a “blue martyrdom.” When I asked her what she meant, she replied, “It is an Irish tradition of martyrdom, mostly for married people, who cannot completely escape the world, wherein the cross is carried by domestic struggle, rather than by ‘red’ martyrdom involving physical death, or the ‘white’ martyrdom of monasticism. Blue martyrdom is accomplished through service to the  family and all that it requires. Thus, it must be an internal affair, less visible as martyrdom to outsiders.”

That made a lot of sense to me. Then she added, “Frequently when  I have a domestic scene, you know, one kid vomiting, another fighting, etc…I say to myself, ah…its the blue martyrdom. Why bother to get upset? What good does it do in the eyes of God? That helps me to have a little endurance…”

Indeed. I remember a word from my preaching professor in seminary. He told the class that while we would often preach on self-denial and bearing others burdens, we should remember that there are moms and dads in the sanctuary. Imperfect and sinful as they might be, they also were giving their lives to raise children and provide a loving home. We should be especially mindful of the mothers, many of whom would spend most of the hours of their day serving their children and husband.

Can such a “blue martyrdom” lead to salvation? As the Orthodox mother pointed out, it does help when you see your domestic life as the stage upon which you work out your salvation. Back to seminary – we had been studying the book of Genesis and we came to the stories of Jacob and Esau. The professor pointed out that we had just spent time dealing with huge cosmic issues – Creation, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, and even the story of Abraham. Now, the stories seemed small by comparison. The story of Jacob dealt with things like spotted sheep, scamming a father, cheating a brother, and dealing with a crafty father-in-law. Compared to the previous stories, one might ask where God is in all of this small time domestic struggle.

That is precisely the point. God is certainly in the big things, but He is also in the small things. Eventually, and because of these small struggles, Jacob would become Israel. These struggles may seem small, but they were not small to Jacob.  I always think of Jacob’s lament to Laban. “I have been with you  for twenty years, fourteen of which I labored just to marry your daughters. The remaining six years I worked for your cattle, and you have changed my wages ten times…” Sometimes, the people of the Old Testament times seem so contemporary.

Today, the world is filled with red martyrdom. It is shocking to us, yet it is unlikely that most of us will experience a red martyrdom. I say this even as Most of us will not embrace white martyrdom, the life of monasticism. So, blue martyrdom it is.

If we can keep this in mind, then perhaps the struggles that we have in our families, in our homes, and in our careers will be lived out on a different stage. Like the Orthodox mom, it may help to perfect our patience and endurance. For example, a wife might say when the husband is being a jerk, “Father, forgive him. He doesn’t know what he is doing.” When the kids are in a jumble and the washing machine just broke, and the baby has colic, we can remember Jacob and the truth that God is at work in the struggle of small affairs of domestic life.

I remember a little plaque that my wife had over the sink. It read, “Lord, give me the patience to endure my blessings.”

I am so blue!

(This blog is dedicated to my dear blue martyrs, my daughter, Bonnie Elizabeth and my son-in-law, Fr. Thomas)


2 Responses to “I’m so Blue!!!”

  1. joshua camacho Says:

    Please read and answer the verse in the Holy Bible Exodus 23;20-21, John 5;43, Proverbs 30;4 and Micah 6;9, Isaiah 24;15, Malachi 1;11 KJV.

  2. redneckpriest Says:

    I’m not sure what your question is.

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