Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Monday, July 01, 2013


I read a beautiful blog post last week written by a woman who recently visited Haiti on a missions trip. She spoke of how she had the privilege of spending one entire day with local women helping them cook in an outdoor kitchen and do laundry by hand. She talked about their graciousness and patience with her despite the language barrier making it difficult to communicate what she should do next. She emphasized the relationship of the women, chatting and smiling and teasing each other and working in community together. As I was reading about how hard they worked to achieve goals that are significantly easier here, cooking meals and washing clothes, I felt that I should be overcome with gratitude - for my dishwasher and my washing machine and my stove top and and oven and clean water streaming out of my kitchen sink, each and every single time I decide to turn it on. And for those things, I am thankful. Truly and enthusiastically.

Yet, while I read the most compelling emotion welling up inside me was not one of gratitude for my fortunate lot, but of envy for what those women share, of longing for the simplicity of a day where my only requirements were to prepare the meals for the day and wash clothes, of yearning for the opportunity to distribute the burden of the labor, working in unison with friends who would lighten the load with laughter and smiling and humor.

I thought about the lives we live here and how very isolated and segregated and separated we are in comparison, each carving out our own individual slice of the pie, making our way with our families. I thought of the price of independence and wealth and relative affluence and the type of poverty it can produce.

Whether we work outside the home or not, the responsibility we women embrace as we raise our children is immense. The pressure to do it all, to be good at it all, to thrive personally, as a couple and as a family unit, can often feel weighty, crushing down on us, enclosing. Our role as wives and mothers, joyful as they are, while steeped in blessing and purpose and love are also heavily taxing. And for the most part, we do so very much of it, in fact, the vast majority of it completely on our own, all alone.

How intently I desire simplicity and a lifestyle that abounds in personal connection. It seems no matter how hard I try, the lists pile up, the needs accumulate and they stare at me, waiting to be met, one by one. Although I regularly question the merit of my myriad of constantly busying tasks, they  are ever bearing down, enveloping too many of my days in their pressurized clench of endless detail.

So, I again and again I must remind myself to hold on to what is pure and simple and lovely and breathtaking and eternal and worthy and connective and endearing and free.
For I know this labor is not in vain...


Lisa Stucky said...

You have no idea how much that resonates with me. I feel the same envy. Life as we know it is not how most know it. Gratitude is critical. Especially in this culture in which we call home.

Erika Stanley said...

I just spent five days with my wonderful friend. Together we have nine children. At the end of our time together I said to her, "every household should have two women." We did all the cooking, laundry, and clean up with ease and joy because we worked together. It's the same way when my mom comes for the day. She often (always) remarks, "I don't know how you do this when I'm not here!" It's so true that working together with other women makes the work so much less "work."

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