Housework

This morning in a writing group we were asked to jot a few lines about housework. I wrote:

Housework-  Bleh.  Tedious, empty, mundane, boring time!  I hate it!  Oh, the delight of a nice clean house, everything in its place with a clean mountainy scent.  But no, I don’t want to do it – let the cleaning fairies come in and whisk their magic wand.  Or on a less mystical view – pay the glorious housekeepers who value this work and say a prayer of blessing that you CAN!  No, I’d much rather be dreaming, playing, writing, convening with nature than to stagnate myself with the emptiness of empty drudgery.  They call me a homemaker?  Beh – no!  Making a home for *me* is so much more than the physical chores of the house.

On further reflection, I wonder what makes me so against it.  My attitude about it seems to suggest that I’m somehow *above* it all, that my life is about something more weighty than the dreary routine of chores.  My life needs to have a deep sense of purpose and meaning to all that I do!   Housework only brings me back to my childhood in which I remember a mother that held her thumb to my hide to enforce my responsibilities of making my bed, cleaning the kitchen, ironing the sheets (really? the SHEETS?!)  It makes me realize that this really is a fight for control and my freedom.  A freedom to BE who I BE who is not about details and order and organization (though I can admit I function better in that mode).  Don’t pin me down to this!  This time of my life is a cry out in support of my damaged masked little girl of yesterday that bowed to others’ expectations of me, and I will not, will NOT, succumb to what I consider to be something I’m not.

Ha.  How’s that for control, even though I’d beg your pardon that I’m sincerely NOT a controlling person! <shy grin>  With humble acknowledgement,  I realize that this is all about discipline – something I’m not so good at.   I’m not good at persistence and follow-though.  I have many great ideas that start with a gusto then peter out in the forgotten dust and boredom with yesterdays dreams.  Honestly it’s one of the fears that I have in starting this public blog -that I’ll not follow through and write each day.  That I’ll not have anything wise or pithy or humorous to share.  That I’ll somehow end up disappointing myself or another in my writings.  Discipline, the backbone of any new challenge is something I resist on the tails of my butterfly wings flitting off with the rush of the wind.

And perhaps that’s where I need to work in this Lenten season.  To recognize my gifts, yes, but also to cultivate my weaknesses.   Certainly not in an effort to make myself into someone I’m not destined to become but to honor the gift in our opposites as well. That journey, to prod and knead the unrisen bread of those struggles, are a gift in itself if I remain open to it.   I’ll never become more disciplined by loudly claiming like an angry toddler stomping her foot that I’m NOT.  Perhaps leaning on that Power Beyond to help me through this struggle can help me realize a stronger, more fuller sense of who I’m meant to be.

It won’t push me to make my bed today, but it is keeping my fingers to the keyboard.  At least for today.

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One thought on “Housework

  1. I love this, Laurie. And I love the picture. Ironing sheets? You bet. I grew up doing that and did it for about two months after I got married. That was the end of that. I’m thinking about the Buddhist admonition that our spiritual practice is to “chop wood, carry water”. Humble and simple as that. And the Benedictine’s “ora and labora”, prayer and work, a portion of every day devoted to physical labor. I’m thinking about someone I’ve forgotten who said “God is in the details”. The small actions, gestures of a day, our fingers practicing the scales of the heart’s music.

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