Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Freedom through Homemaking

I recently ran across a reference to this essay by G.K. Chesterton on Domesticiy, and simply had to post one of my favorite parts here:

She should have not one trade but twenty hobbies; she, unlike the man, may develop all her second bests. This is what has been really aimed at from the first in what is called the seclusion, or even the oppression, of women. Women were not kept at home in order to keep them narrow; on the contrary, they were kept at home in order to keep them broad. The world outside the home was one mass of narrowness, a maze of cramped paths, a madhouse of monomaniacs. It was only by partly limiting and protecting the woman that she was enabled to play at five or six professions and so come almost as near to God as the child when he plays at a hundred trades. But the woman's professions, unlike the child's, were all truly and almost terribly fruitful;
This sentiment rings so true with me! Sure, I enjoyed becoming a specialist and being able to develop a sense of expertise in the field of adult medicine. But now that I've been a homemaker for a little while, I'm really coming to realize how beautiful the spectrum of what I can do here is. I can nurture my "twenty hobbies" without feeling the need to become an "expert" or professional in each of them. For instance, I can play the violin for my daughter as she pounds on the piano next to me, and do it well--even play in friends' weddings, without making it the only thing I do all day every day. I can create complex recipes from my Julia Child cookbook to suprise my husband and broaden my cooking skills without having to enter a competition or write a cookbook. I can advise family and friends in medical issues, checking the latest evidence, without the confines of hanging a shingle. I can paint a landscape inspired by the waves of the ocean or the vast marshes to brighten a corner of our home, and develop my skills as a painter, without setting up shop in a gallery downtown. I can do all of these things without having to compete in the marketplace to become the very best at any of them, and find fulfillment in the way in which I can glorify God in them, without turning them into my vocation! This is a taste of freedom, not the imprisonment modern feminists would call homemaking.

In Edith Schaeffer's book, The Hidden Art of Homemaking, she touched on this philosophy a bit as well. I read it late last year and it inspired me with the affirmation that I can use even my weakest gifts to create beauty in ways that edify. But lately I think I'm really beginning to look at this new vocation of mine as the canvas upon which I can paint with each of my hobbies and talents in ways that will build up my home and bring glory to God. The bredth of unique challenges faced in my daily calling brings opportunity for growth in so many areas.

Just some quick thoughts...
Now on to develope my handyman skills in fixing my dryer!