Homemaking is finally, slowly starting to make sense to me. It's not just about getting things done. The list is as important as you make it. No one will die if you don't make the bed or dust the china cabinet. I've heard people say that we should think of housework as a blessing we bestow on others, but I think there's more to it than that. I think housework makes room for blessings. Even more so I think it creates opportunities for rest. Making the bed or scrubbing the sink is work. It can be redeemed work, but it's really work. Walking into your clean kitchen to make bread or pies or breakfast pancakes can be rest, recreation, and hospitality all in one. The clean counters make way for restful occupation.
I think this explains something that has puzzled me about my childhood home. Growing up in that home was at times a confusing and traumatic experience, and yet I experienced moments of great peace and rest while there. I think of the sun shining through my bedroom window, the smell of pancakes and coffee in the morning, the sooty metallic scent of the wood burning stove, and the gleam of hardwood floors in the sun's slanting rays. All those memories involved work -often my work at that. Cleaning and polishing the wood floors, washing dishes, carting armloads of wood up the deck stairs. We went to effort and we basked in the results -shining floors, good smells, and warming fires. This puzzled me though because I very rarely saw my mom content and resting from her work, or perhaps I should say that I very rarely saw her resting to enjoy her work. For that reason I think I saw the good results of work and exulted in them without understand why or how they came about and how I should be enjoying them. Now, it's starting to make more sense to me. I hang curtains in the living room (well actually Allen did), and then I sit back to enjoy the soft, frosty colored light filtering through their white lengths. I clean the kitchen so that I can enjoy the rest and joy of mixing up pies for Thanksgiving. It's not work before you play because work is intrinsically more valuable, it's work before you play because rest is more important and therefore requires more preparation.
I think that's the secret.