Thursday, June 28, 2007

"The Common Stuff Of This World..."

You know how sometimes you read something on a blog, and you think something like, "Gee, I want to think about that more and I might have something to say about it later and I certainly don't want to forget about it." So you cut and paste into an new post and save it as draft and wholeheartedly believe that you'll get to it later in the week? Well.....

A MONTH ago, Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer posted this quote from Elisabeth Elliott:

When women--sometimes well-meaning, earnest, truth seeking ones--say "Get out of the house and do something creative, find something meaningful, something with more direct access to reality," it is a dead giveaway that they have missed the deepest definition of creation, of meaning, of reality. And when you start seeing the world as opaque, that is, as an end in itself instead of as transparent, when you ignore the Other World where this one ultimately finds its meaning, of course housekeeping (and any other kind of work if you do it long enough) becomes tedious and empty.

But what have buying groceries, changing diapers and peeling vegetables got to do with creativity? Aren't those the very things that keep us from it? Isn't it that kind of drudgery that keeps us in bondage? It's insipid and confining, it's what one conspicuous feminist called "a life of idiotic ritual, full of forebodings and failure." To her I would answer ritual, yes. Idiotic, no, not to the Christian--for although we do the same things anybody else does, and we do them over and over in the same way, the ordinary transactions of everyday life are the very means of transfiguration. It is the common stuff of this world which, because of the Word's having been "made flesh," is shot through with meaning, with charity, with the glory of God.

In this season of doing the same things over and over all day and often all night, I found Elisabeth's wisdom rather encouraging. I love to create things - and if I get past my own perfectionism, sometimes they come out pretty good - I just don't have time to make anything now. I love to cook, but even creativity in the kitchen is limited by either #2 boring, repetitive eating habits or #3 hanging on my leg and whining or #4 screaming because you just can't cook and wear a baby at the same time. Praise the Lord for Pass Your Plate! Before I had #4 I went and made a bunch of meals and stocked up, and then our Sunday School class gave us a gift certificate to PYP and we used a free assembly coupon to further fill the freezer. We're about halfway through our stash. I'd better start saving back some grocery money and planning another trip. (Now THAT was a tangent - one that must be noted on the checkbook and the calendar.)

ANYWAY - if I can harness the brain cells for a moment, I must say that I am reminded by Elisabeth just how lucky I am to be able to stay home and clean my house and cook for my family and care for and educate my children. So when my husband is working late, my children are whining, the washing machine is broken, the tire blows out and time for myself is nonexistant - I am reminded that I have this blessing poured out on me: I love my job. While the ritual of it may leave me rambling on like an idiot, I know that I'm making an investment in the future, and I'm fulfilling the calling God has for me at this time.


ComfyDenim said...

It's also what we choose to think on and say during these times that help.

The season is all too short. It really is, but not when you're in the midst of it. When you're in the midst of it - it seems to be like you're in the middle of the vast ocean with no land in sight.

It doesn't seem like it - but one day, your ship will hit land - Suddenly.

And I think I need to finish this via e-mail because I just got too long. :-) We're bordering on my own blog post - in your comment section. *L*

Andie said...

THank You!!! I totally agree. Sometimes it really gets to me, doing the same things, over and over...just how many dishes can I wash in one day?? Or how many times do I pick up the living room? But then I remind many times can I kiss my little ones? How many times can I sing a song with them? How many times can I teach them about the love of Jesus? I wouldn't be able to do any of these things nearly as often (even the dishes) if I worked. No, we don't get to go out to eat nearly every other day, like some of our friends. No, we don't get to take elaborate vacations and go visit Mickey Mouse...but I get to stay home with my kiddos and have quality time with them EVERY DAY!! This is our choice...and we are blessed!
Thank you for this reminder!
I agree with the other commentor...I think this is my own blog post in the making!!! (after I do some dishes, pick up the living room, give some hugs and kisses...oh, and go on a trip to visit family, our vacation!)

Diane said...

Amen! I loved your post. It reminds me of a poem I read on a different blog. Hope you don't mind me posting it here, it's long.
Loving Jesus
by Megan Breedlove

Jesus DIDN’T say, “Whatever you do for the least of
these, I appreciate it.” HE SAID, “Whatever you do
for the least of these, you do FOR ME” (Matthew 25:40)

I started my day early,
Before the room was light.
I lifted my son from his crib
And wished it was still night.
But as I held him close and said,
“Hi Tyler, precious one,”
I knew that as I greeted him,
I greeted too God’s Son.

When my daughter woke up later
Calling, “Mommy! Mommy! Down!”
I picked her up and hugged her
In her worn Elmo nightgown.
I know she felt the closeness
That a mother’s touch affords.
I welcomed not just Danielle,
But so, too, the Lord of Lords.

That day, I mixed some formula
And opened jars of peas.
I fixed some “pizza butter” bread
When she grinned and said, “Pleeeeease.”
I heated up some leftovers;
I had to nuke them twice.
And when I fed my children,
I was feeding Jesus Christ.

I made some funny faces,
And “played pubzzles” on the floor.
I dressed kitties, ran around outside,
And played with them some more.
We laughed and jumped and tickled,
Making memories to be stored.
When I spent time with my children,
I spent time with my Lord.

I wiped up sticky cereal
And washed the dishes clean.
I straightened, picked up, put away,
And dusted in between.
I did six loads of laundry
And folded it like new.
When I cleaned for my children,
I cleaned for my Savior, too.

When my children were both crying,
I held them in my arms.
I cuddled them and whispered
That I’d keep them safe from harm.
I told them how their Father saved them
With His perfect Lamb.
When I comforted my children,
I comforted I Am.

Later on that evening,
I put them in the bath.
I washed their little bodies
As they kicked around and splashed.
I dried them in soft towels
And put their jammies on.
When I washed my children’s feet,
I washed the Holy One.

I cooked and cleaned and rearranged,
Made beds and taught and played.
I made sure that we had food to eat
and that we often prayed.
I died to self.
I made a home from ordinary things
But when I served my children,
I served the King of Kings.

To some, I have done nothing,
But to two, I’ve done the world.
I made eternal differences
To my precious boy and girl
And to the One who watches over
Every pathway that I’ve trod.
For when I’ve loved my precious children,
I’ve loved Almighty God.

Anyhow...I'll keep doing these tidious things to stay home with the children. We went to the beach yesturday and dh was swinging Noah in the water over the waves. All I could think of was, wow, in a couple more years dh won't be able to do that anymore. :(

Anonymous said...

I haven't been on your site for awhile, because you said you would not be posting! I guess it's in your blood. I enjoy your posts and hearing updates about your family. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who struggles with the mundane. I grow weary of dishes, laundry, and children who don't understand thankfulness yet. How I wish they would thank me for the exhausting things I'm doing as their mother! Oh well, off to pick up toys..Barbara