Does this resonate?
Editor’s note: I wrote this a few weeks ago, somewhere in between mass shootings, natural disasters, and the general mayhem that’s been 2017. Maybe it will resonate with you somewhere, wherever you’re at. It’s a little ramble-y and it doesn’t quite wrap up too neatly. Nonetheless, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
I’ve told this story before, but I still think it’s relevant because in one way or another, we all deal with the idea of meaningfulness. One time I was invited to the home of a girl I attended church with. She wanted my opinion on how to get a fresh spin on her home using the things she already had. This was early on in my blogging career and I really enjoyed hanging out with this new friend. As the conversation flowed on, she stopped me in my tracks with this statement: “You know, I see what you’re doing with your blog and all this stuff, but I wonder what eternal value it all has.”
SCREEEEEEECH. Wait, what? It was a galvanizing moment. I thought to myself that maybe I should stop this frivolous pursuit and take up something more serious. More meaningful. More … I don’t know. Spiritual? Holy?
Now. Before you get your panties in a twist over this (like I did), let’s take a collective deep breath and look at why this bothers us/me so much. First off, it suggested to me in that moment that the value of things that I loved doing (in this instance: home decor, design, and color) was, well, minimal to say the least. It also suggests that the only thing that matters in life is what will be eternal. Which I would also tend to agree with on some level. Love, relationships — these are the things that truly last, right?
I’m going to take it a step further than all of that. It was a deflating moment right there, to be sure. It put me right into that teeny tiny box that says Only These Things Are Truly Important. It’s a one-upping that diminishes us wherever we’re at. Only if These Things can cure cancer/take care of the gun debate/cause less hurting in the world then they are Worth Something. Only if you are a missionary saving lives and leading thousands to Jesus like Billy Graham are any of these things really lasting.
The thing is, this conversation wasn’t really about blogging or furniture arrangement, was it? It was more about the greater issue that we all deal with – the idea of what’s truly lasting, memorable, meaningful. I see it through a different lens now, in these months after the death of my Mom.
I see my own search for meaning in the day to day monotony of housework, folding laundry, changing diapers — thankless work that all starts to feel like you’re simply not seen sometimes, doesn’t it? Where’s the meaning in it? Where’s the value? The world at large doesn’t seem to think too highly of any of these things, of that oft-maligned term “homemaker.”
Except. Now I see it. My mom is gone, but I still feel her every single day through those little ways that she was a homemaker. I fold clothes the way she did, I make the bed the way she did. It’s her hands guiding my hands, changing those diapers. I hear her cheering me on, telling me that Always, and No Matter What, You Must Be You. Don’t Be Anybody Else.
I value honesty, truth-telling, and transparency. I value beauty, home, and family. I can’t fix the bigger issues happening in the world, but I do believe to some extent that the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that will rule the world. So I will continue to feather my nest, and to color my tiny corner of this world something brighter in the midst of so much beige and blandness. Because the world is a hard, hard place — and we all need a soft place to land.
Blessings on the hand of women!
Fathers, sons, and daughters cry,
And the sacred song is mingled
With the worship in the sky —
Mingles where no tempest darkens,
Rainbows evermore are hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.
We didn’t stick around that church for very much longer. And I haven’t seen that particular acquaintance in many years. In short, we weren’t a good fit overall — our values were different. But I’m grateful for the way the conversation we had has stretched me, and continues to provoke conversations with other creatives on how we can best bloom where we’re planted. Because when we value something enough, there’s something life-changing about finding others who value it too — it’s about finding your tribe, your support system.
I had mine in my Mom and I still have it in the rest of my family. Do you have yours?
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