Monday, May 4, 2009

Home: Making Life Worth Living

"Susan Comforting the Baby" by Mary Cassatt


“I’ve heard of women being belittled for choosing to devote themselves full time to family, home, and community life. ‘Well, what are you going to do when the children are old enough to go to school full time?’ is a typical question. ‘Do?’ Have we not heard, have we not seen that human life is a gift, a treasure worth tending? Is it actually more valuable to push a pen on paper or buttons on a computer than to be expert in human life and its care? Is life more worthwhile because there is never time to pick wild blackberries and make a fruit crumble? Are things really more important than people? Will the warmth and wisdom of the expertise of caring for each other be handed on? Isn’t this an amazingly interesting and complex vocation on the one hand, and yet clear on the other?”

~Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, For the Family’s Sake

If we belittle the homemaker, we belittle the home. When we lose sight of the small blessings that make life good, when we neglect the daily sacrifices that sanctify us, we turn away from those things by which God chose to make human life worth living.

Remember that, while He spent three years in public ministry, Jesus spent 30 years at home, working with his hands, obeying his parents, growing in wisdom, spending time in study and prayer, building relationships, cherishing particularly the relationship He had with His Blessed Mother. If Christ's life was not better fulfilled in the attainment of those things we call "successful", why should we stake our life's fulfillment on such things?

Certainly, not everyone must be a full-time homemaker. But, everyone who wishes to benefit from the immeasurable wealth of a thriving homelife must value the homemaker and, thus, value the home itself. For it is at home that we are nourished, body and spirit. It is at home that we are free to be most creative and most fully ourselves. It is at home that we learn how to nurture relationships, how to care for ourselves and others. It is at home that we discover those things which bring us daily contentment, and it is where we welcome God Himself into our midst to share in the mundane sacredness called homelife.

But, to enjoy all these things, someone must keep the home functioning. Meals must be made, the sanctuary must be cleaned, routines must be established and enforced, the atmosphere must be tended to, loveliness must be cultivated. No culture was ever established through neglect but, rather, through care and cultivation. So too, with the home. And, the homemaker is the primary creator and protector of the culture of the home. She is its keeper, in every sense. This is no small task. Where homemaking falls by the wayside, so does homelife. Where it flourishes, so too the home, so too the family, and through such families is our world made beautiful and life worth living.

6 comments:

  1. Lovely post, dear. It's so very true. You immediately sent my mind to Fulton Sheen, lol.

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  2. You know, speaking as a daughter of a woman with a very high-powered and prestigious career, I never once felt like I was getting any less out of my mother, I never once felt like I, or my family, or our home was less important than her job, and while everything wasn't always spick and span and sometimes it took us awhile to get around to doing things, we still made jam in the summer, baked cookies and worked in the garden.

    She, and we held sacred the value of home, the beauty of little things and all the small details, and the value of a strong, responsible and loving mother. I also have had good fortune of having a role model who is an incredibly strong woman with a career that she is devoted to and passionate about, but who also takes pride and happiness from her duties as wife and mother. She would shirk from neither role, and to me, that is as honorable as a homemaker's, no more, no less. It is simply an alternate calling.

    Sometimes, in your effort to defend the role of homemaker (and well you should, it is the oldest and most honorable of professions) you seem to inadvertently insinuate that to be anything other than a homemaker is to be unfulfilled as a woman, and unwise as a mother and spouse.

    I would simply offer that I want to further cultivate the mind that God has bestowed me with, and use it to my best advantage as a professor as well as a mother and a wife, and I don't believe many of us "professionals" would sacrifice our families or our homes if we believed we couldn't successfully have both. I certainly wouldn't. Family will always come first, no matter what successful job I might have.

    I know I am taking up a tremendous task by pursuing both pathways and I know it will be difficult at times, but I truly believe God is here with me, leading and helping me on my way. And I don't believe my home or my family would be any worse off for my decision. Having grown up in this sort of environment, myself, I think I've turned out just fine. More than that, really. Blessed in every sense.

    Please don't villify those of us who choose to work as well as make a home. We are just as mindful of God's calling and our homes and families as those of you who decide to make homemaking a full-time profession; we just also happen to be called forward in other aspects of our lives. I realize that in the end one can only speak from one's own experiences, but I would ask that you keep this perspective in mind.

    Thank you for what I know will be your careful consideration in this matter, and please keep writing! It's a wonderful blessing to be able to hear your thoughts.

    Your Chica.

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  3. Anonymous- Nowhere in this post do I villify or demean those who are not full-time homemakers. I merely call for a return to the appreciation and honor that homemaking deserves for the powerful role it has in our society. It seems you have misunderstood what I've written.
    ~Bethany

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  4. Bethany,

    I will echo Amy's words....Beautiful!

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