Saturday, May 1, 2010

seven :: barefoot and kitchenbound

It's hard not to feel housewifey when that's what you are, a wife, in the house. Did I take the job or does the job take me? I like to have neat beds, so I make them. I like to see the floor I walk on, so I clean it, and pick stuff up. I love to eat, and eat good food. I think other people feel this way too. So, I make stuff and I use the kitchen to do so, sometimes in my bare feet. There are the clothes that we wear and try as I do to wear them multiple days in a row-- accidents do happen, like body odor and healthy sweat glands, and peanut butter fingers with a jelly coating on my shirt. So those clothes, I wash them. And hang them out to dry. And fold them. And put them in a drawer to hopefully live and work another day.

If I worked somewhere else, I'm sure there would be things, parts of that job I would find mundane, or annoying. Maybe attending meaningless, time-sucking meetings, or filling out mindless paperwork, or unjamming staplers, or stocking toilet paper. I stock toilet paper at home too. It doesn't bother me. I like to have toilet paper around when you need it, that's all.

Sometimes I can look at my housewifey work and feel all sorry for myself. Not stimulating, I think. Not glamorous. Not progressive. Sometimes I can look at my housewifey work and feel grateful. So freeing, I think. So important. So eternal. That's what they tell you all the time when you stay at home with small children, by the way. The most important work on earth. Changing the world one diaper at a time. Invisible work, but vital.

Most of the time I sit perched carefully on the fence. If I enter in too joyfully, if I embrace the role to emphatically, if I accept it too wholeheartedly, will they all think I have forfeited my brain? Will I forfeit my brain, my soul, the things that make me come alive? But then I know that I'm eluding joy when I question it in this way- in terms of losing me.  You're supposed to find your life when you lose it. Is that too topsy turvy, too upside down and backwards to these world-breathing lungs? I don't know if I can really believe that, now can I? And anyway, does losing your life mean losing everything that you could do, could be?

Except that somewhere along the line I think I took this job, it didn't take me. And I said I believed that people were the most important thing to spend your life on and then I made a few of them. And then I said I believed what He said was true, even if it was sort of upside down sounding. And I heard and believed that if I served anyone, it was like serving Him, and so serving myself seemed out of the question. And I started to see that all those people who say they are finding themselves inside themselves, or in the stuff they do, didn't really seem to have found much at all.

So I know it's hard not to feel housewifey, being that I am one and all. Somehow I don't think it's gaining on me though. I don't think I'm getting lost in it. When you lose your life you find it. Even if it is stamped with peanut butter prints.


  1. Christine,
    I am a friend of your mom's. She forwarded this to me, and I just have to tell you it is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing such lovely and wonderful thoughts!

  2. I loved this post. I read it the other day and just came back to read it again. Thanks :)

  3. Thank you for this! I love the next-to-last paragraph. So true...