Lists, love, and laundry…


I should have known better than to give myself a deadline. Oh, dear.

So here is the question I’ve been thinking on: “IF home is a sacred place, a safe place, a place of wonder and merriment and joy, of loss and love, am I doing the things that honor that? AND, if I am in a sacred profession, could the mundane be magnificent? Can there be liturgy in the laundry?”

A plethora of wonderful, amazing writers have talked about their answer to this question. In fact, if I was honest, there are some bloggers I check in with every day simply because they inspire me to answer this question in a daily, thought out sort of way, a practical working out of what it means to be a woman who dwells at home. Perhaps one of the most noticeable things about home keeping is the fact that it is so diverse in needs and expressions; what I need for my family of seven does not resemble what a single woman living in a tiny apartment might need- and yet, there are similarities.  Each home where people find dwelling need a few obvious things: a place to get out of the weather, a place to eat, a place to sleep, and, to put it delicately, a place to be vulnerable. (Where are we more vulnerable than when we are in the bathroom, often naked or in some state of undress?) But the less obvious things are quite needful too: a place to find rest (as opposed to sleep), a place to love and be loved (even if it is only ourself), a place to dream big dreams, larger than the sky, that extend out beyond our roof into the stars, a place of safety in a world full of hurt, a place to believe, to work out our faith in an everyday sort of way, to test our hypotheses and find our conclusions.

Part of our existence in this twenty first century is a life full of hurry and want, both in the physical and metaphysical sense. We don’t have time to think or absorb what is happening because we are in a constant state of rushing, and while we may be well fulfilled in the monetary sense (or not, because we have yet to catch the Joneses at their game), we suffer from an extreme want of place, of rootedness, of family, of hope, of home. The sordid statistics tell the tale: the divorces, the wayward children, the crime rates, the welfare rolls.

But as any one who has had the task of keeping a home can tell, the art of homekeeping is a seemingly lost art, and some might argue, a lost goal. It is difficult to take this synergy of needs and apply an answer in the form of a ‘kept home’, where, as Mark Twain remarks “[Our house] had a  heart, and a soul, and eyes to see us with; and approvals and solicitudes, and deep sympathies; it was of us, and we were its confidence, and lived in its grace and in the peace of its benediction.” A home like that can’t be bought or sold- it can only be made. And it can only be made with the help of the Almighty. We can rely upon organizing gurus and books, clutter busting programs and a thousand lists, and we’ll never come close; empty tools void of the touch of the divine. That is not to say that those sort of things aren’t helpful- they can- but they are not the end point of home keeping. They are a small part, a little beginning.

Now what?

This is where the rubber meets the road, where everything has to be taken in balance and considered against those needs mentioned above. I think where I have been in error quite often is that I try to match a system that has worked great for another family to my own without ever stopping to consider or weigh it against what my family needs. Worse, up until recently, I never thought to pray about it! I never really thought about considering what I do as a worship-giving to the Lord. The whole idea of work as worship was foreign to me.

I struggle with extremes. Part of this is the way I am wired- God has made me to feel everything passionately and deeply. I don’t feel like I can go “by halves”, so a very real danger for me is to be more concerned about the end point than the moment in time I currently find myself. I was a gold star girl in school- I liked nothing better than to see that shiny little thing adorning my pages- which is all well and good, but perfectionism is a close cousin to gold stars if I don’t give them the proper balance. For some, this balance seems to come effortlessly. For me, it is a daily thing. I have to constantly re-evaluate and re-center, or I am liable to jump off the deep end without realizing.

I’ll try to get into what I am finding works well in the homekeeping arena in the next few days if possible. I apologize for my sporadic blogging. In the past, I would tend towards being more concerned about what was happening in my computer screen than in my home, and that’s all backwards…So- more sporadic blogging until this season has passed! *grins*


7 responses to “Lists, love, and laundry…”

  1. i like your sporadic blogging

    and your thoughs here


  2. this was a really really great post, Joy. So good that I need to re-read a few times and probably journal my own thoughts about this too. thanks so much for sharing your insights…

  3. Making home around Him… the point of all this eh? To do the things that bring us joy and life as a family are the important things and it takes a while to figure out what those things are. It looks different for each of us.

    Funny you mention the daily balance ……..I think I am edging toward every two days or so……real progress for me :o) The less I follow “the rules” the better it gets.

  4. “A home like that can only be made … with the help of the Almighty.”

    Something for me to keep in mind during spring cleaning, as I prepare to host guests for ten days.

    Something for me to keep in mind every single day.

  5. I love the way you write truth gentle… you encourage.

    All my love, Joy…

    All’s grace,

  6. Happy Mother’s Day! Hope you had a special day!

  7. you are such a good, true soul, Joy. i love to follow along with you in your life. so much wisdom and beauty here. i’m wired in a similar way…always feel so extreme, wanting to push farther when everyone else seems so comfortable. yes, i think God made us this way, not that it is easy living in this skin.

    Hope you had a lovely Mother’s Day. bless you.

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