I had been wondering where the burst of cleaning and ordering energy that I’ve had for the last couple of weeks had come from, and I now have a couple of theories. (For two pregnancies I looked forward to the “nesting” phase when I would actually want to clean – it never came. Maybe this is what it feels like!) Freedom from the requirements of a job has certainly helped, since I have hours back in my days with no commute, no papers to grade or lessons to plan, not to mention the time I actually spent teaching.
But I have also been doing some “mommy” reading, some of which has dealt with home schooling, and some of which has been more in the homemaking-without-losing-your-mind-or-your-soul mold. The later has been most edifying.
Essentially, I have bought into the idea that if God is calling me to be at home and raise my children (which hopefully I believe, since that is what I plan to do with myself for the foreseeable future), then He must expect my experiences in this realm of life to be my ticket to sanctification. And as Holly Pierlot argues, and I think rightly, it is up to us to take our vocations by the horns, so to speak, and direct our efforts at doing our very best at our calling. If this means homemaking, then I am called to be sanctified by doing the dishes, laundry, diapers, and more generally creating an environment in which my family can live as God calls us. That means (I think) an environment without excess clutter and dirt, with order and calm, and with beauty, for starters. So boxes are making their way to St. Vincent de Paul, shelves are getting dusted and reordered, and the real trick is going to be making the habits I’m trying to form – for prayer and housekeeping – stick. And doing it joyfully, because it is what God wants me to do. (Lots on this in Merton – also worth checking out.) Pierlot talks about offering up each little task, and about following some sort of prayer rule, to help all this happen. So far, this change in mindset has really, really helped.
In the midst of all this reflecting and reordering, I read the first reading for today:
“Brothers and sisters: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written:
‘He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.’
The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You are being enriched in every way for all generosity, which through us produces thanksgiving to God.”
-2 Cor. 9:6-11