The rain began early this morning and is scheduled to stay until the evening. I don’t mind a rainy day, particularly when I get to enjoy it here within these walls. I keep thinking mornings should be spent on my own homework, and sometimes they are. But also I use the time to catch my breath, take a walk, call a relative, or go to the Y. After that there’s still plenty of time to look around see what other tasks call out to be chosen. A load of laundry, making the bed, sweeping the floor and remembering again how I used to love this.
That is, how deeply I used to believe in how the work of home mattered. Home was to be the place where hearts were bound to one another, the sanctuary in a restless world, the secret city on a hill, where nothing was done out of selfish conceit or ambition, when the praise of the world meant nothing and the works of your hands were blessed and ever-pleasing in God’s eyes. I hardly think of him now, or the home as holy work, of God being present in the ordinary and smiling when I change a diaper or whatever that Luther quote was.
There’s an Instagram account I can follow without internally rolling my eyes at all the homemaking jargon: maryannechallieshelms. I’ll read her posts and come away feeling warmed and inspired, to set the table with soup and crackers and my Pioneer Women bowls, to straighten a cluttered surface and ponder eternity. I look at her and think, “You’re really doing this, you still believe this”, for her over two whole decades later. She strikes me as someone who has truly excelled in the homemaking arts and the narrow way.
It looks different for everyone, the ways God transforms our souls to be holy vessels of his love, to be his hands and feet and givers of ourselves who are no more, who have been taken up and hollowed by the strings and harps and melodies. I would’ve loved for excellence and proficiency in every art, but I don’t mind being more of a generalist, being a little more less specialized in order to rest in the ministry of peace and contentment. Oh, I almost sound like one of them again, a woman of grace who fears the Lord.
This is all nonsense. And I am shaken back to earth with every song I’ve never written, every piano I couldn’t play to find a way to share my heart, to touch the souls, to reach the heavens, to set my mind on higher things, O who comes up with these sayings? I think I still believe it too, the way she goes on about lighting candles and washing bowls and chopping vegetables to roast for supper, and it didn’t matter who noticed, and it didn’t matter who thanked her, it didn’t matter when all the company of heaven had things to do.