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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.

Except.


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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  • Gwen Simmons

    Lovely post! i think many of us who have blogs and small businesses that we work from home have similar issues. I will say proudly that I was a homemaker for many years, and still am in many ways, and though it is not considered a “career choice” these days, it is where I have found the greatest satisfaction in life. At this point, I choose to combine my loves and passions in life– from running my vintage business and the great satisfaction I get from the hunt for merchandise– to writing about subjects as diverse as how to throw a party, bake a cake, or where my Spiritual Path is taking me these days. I don’t, and I wont, let the judgments of someone who has chosen a different path deter me from mine. There is room enough for us all to shine.
    Thanks for the observations about your Mom. Mine is still with me, but I feel the exact same way.
    All the Best…
    Gwen

  • “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.” LOVE that!! <3

    I hate to say it, but I used to be where your friend was – I know I made a hurtful comment to my Mom a few years back as she was excited about the idea of redecorating and complimenting my creativity, and I said something about it all being kind of frivolous and how I wanted to spend my life focused on things that really mattered. I was sincere, but it was an arrogant position, and one that unintentionally belittled her. I see all of that very differently now, and have spent more time on writing and photography and other creative projects without that guilt or shame that I used to feel, believing that God made me creative on purpose, and He delights in it when we use the gifts He gave us well. I understand more deeply the value and sacredness of having a beautiful place to call home, something inviting that uniquely reflects you and your family.

    "It often feels unchristian to enjoy life, especially knowing what we know and seeing what we see. A Christian in tune with God’s whole character neither regards herself as too important or too unworthy to enjoy this life… God gave humanity many healing tools – some are spiritual, but others are tactile, physical… Creating a beautiful home is fun. Find colors and styles that make you feel alive and inspired and at home. Go with what you love, not necessarily what you see on design shows or in your neighbor’s house… The biggest waste of non-refundable years is closing your home to guests because it’s ‘not pretty enough’ …Making your home pretty is nice, but making it nourishing is holy. Home is the scene of so much love and happiness. It’s where you invite people in and say, ‘You are so welcome in this place.’ It is the reel our children will replay in memory, the leather chair you read in, the farmhouse table you shared, the braided rug where you played eleventy-billion games of Chutes and Ladders. It is your little corner of earth, entirely yours to make lovely. In a world increasingly dominated by fear and violence and isolation and loneliness, you can claim restoration under your small roof, where people are nurtured and fed and loved and embraced, where God reigns and hope is spoken…” ~Jen Hatmaker

  • Ursula

    For some reason this blog post has been an open tab in my mental browser all day. You asked, so in no particular order, my thoughts:
    1. One look at Creation tells me God loves beauty, order, color, and seasonal decor.
    2. I love hearing about the impact of your mom and her love. Thank you for sharing this. Such a beautiful reminder that the little things add up.
    3. One of the truths of an incarnate God is that the physical and spiritual, the eternal and temporal are not actually as seperate as we imagine.
    4. People asking for help should maybe not tell the person the help has no eternal value. It is a good thing to contemplate the eternal impact of our gifts/talents/time/lives, but maybe not so much to decide which of other people’s do or don’t have lasting value.
    5. One of the most impactful things I heard in college was a janitor sharing about his work as ministry and prayer. It can all be for Him. Or not, but thats not about the task, but who we are in it.
    5. I love this passage in Deut 31:2 about Gods presence in artistry:
    “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts. 6 Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you.”

    Ok, will stop there since thats practically a blog in comments. Love this. Thanks for sharing it.

  • This post is so beautiful. I got choked up reading it. (It’s been a hard couple of months.) Thank goodness there are gorgeous souls like you who bring color to everyone’s lives–literally and figuratively!