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Entries in Homey Thoughts (2)


What's homemaking got to do with it?

On Saturday, an article about Paige Patterson came up on my Twitter feed. I am horrified by the things I have seen Patterson quoted as saying, especially his attitude toward those in situations of domestic abuse. His refusal to entertain any notion of wrongdoing is equally troubelsome. To make matters worse, he seems to be in a position where no one is allowed to critique him. This only opens the door to abuse of authority. I'm thankful for the fact that this kind of dialogue is being called out.

Thinking that the article was about Patterson's conduct, I didn't understand why there was more than one mention of the fact that Southwestern teaches homemaking classes *. In fact, it was mentioned within the first few paragraphs. What did that have to do with the matter at hand? Thankfully, a subsequent article by the same author on Monday had more focus on the issue and less on incidentals.

Some readers latched on to the incidental detail of homemaking, and Twitter being what it is, provided a venue for mocking it. Apparently, the existence of such programs is something we don't like. I was disappointed by some of the comments regarding the program not only because it seemed to have nothing to do with the issue of Patterson, but because some were condescending.

Why has homemaking become an undesirable occupation for women? I understand completely that for too long women were relegated to domestic spheres alone and discouraged from other interests and occupations. I was only ten years old when I became indignant at the thought that my place was only in the home. But taking the opposite attitude, one of disparagement, doesn't seem helpful, either. Does not our freedom to choose our occupation include homemaking? 

I suspect that one of the reasons homemaking is not taken seriously as a course of study is because some believe it doesn't take much effort; one doesn't need school to know how to care for the home. In some situations, I think a course on housekeeping could benefit some immensely. While everyone can live in a home, not everyone knows how to care for one. I was very fortunate in that my mother, by example, taught me how to care for a home. And I learned more than cooking and cleaning. Homes require maintenance, and not everyone has a natural aptitude for it. Unless we are homeless, we all have a home. Aren't they worth caring for? 

The home is where we welcome others with acts of hospitality. The home is where we shelter our growing families and provide a place where they can eat, rest, and be nurtured. Our homes are a gift from God to steward. Why disparage efforts to help learn that process? If we snicker at the thought of homemaking instruction, what does it say about the value we place on such work, and by implication, those who make it their primary focus? On one hand we say that our value is determined by being created in God's image, not in what we do, but on the other hand, we make sure we let people know that what they do is open for ridicule.

At the root of the problem is a failure to appreciate the principle of vocation. I won't take time to get into that now, but each of us, if we have a family and a home, have a vocation as a homemaker and caregiver. If someone wants to learn how to do it, who are we to look down our noses on them?


*I did not find a specific degree title of Master of Homemaking on Southwestern's website. What I did find were a number of programs for women (and some of them included biblical languages) and the option to concentrate on areas which included classes in home management, home decorating and sewing. Perhaps I wasn't looking in the right place. I could use some instruction of decorating myself.


For the love of home

I love to be home. I love my comfy workplace, with the morning light streaming through the windows, or even the soft patter of rain when I am dressed warmly, and wearing wooly socks. I love to go out on the deck in the afternoon and sit in the sun. My cat will see me from his hiding place and come alongside to flick his tail and curl around me. I like to putter in my kitchen, try new recipes, or take my knitting in front of a good British crime drama.

I've always loved home. I wasn't the kind of teenager who felt ashamed to spend a weekend night home with my family. I liked to watch a good old black and white movie or hole myself up in my room, writing or reading. I love to visit friends and family, but it's always so nice to be home.

God gave me a disposition to enjoy this homey life. Perhaps other women feel like I'm detracting from the women's movement in general because I don't have a career. I'm 49 years old, and getting more curmudgeonly as the days go by. I'm learning to ignore such sentiments.

There is something very comforting to my soul in this quiet, homey life. It's not that I cut myself off from the world or ignore it. Every day I live as a Christian, I participate in this world. I raised three productive, hard-working children. I hope I'm a considerate, friendly neighbour. There are a lot of ways to contribute; not all of them are a pursuit for recognition or achievement.

When I was growing up, we moved a lot. How I envied those who had a "home town." I always felt so disconnected because I was the new kid every few years. The closest thing I have to a home town is my aunt and uncle's farm; it's the one geographical place that has remained consistent my entire life. And yet, that can never completely satisfy my deepest longings. No hometown could because that's not ultimately where I'm created to be. There a home in eternity that waits for me.

When Jesus was preparing to leave his disciples, he comforted them with the reminder that he would return to bring them home with him. There would be a place waiting for them:

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (John 14:1-3)

A home waiting for us. That is a beautiful thing; a reassuring thing. A place where we belong.

On Tuesday, I was away almost all day. By 5:15, as I made the hour long drive home, I was eager to arrive. There was a place waiting for me; a white house on a street lined with large maple trees. There was a cat waiting in the shrubs, wondering why I wasn't home. I knew a happy little Beagle would run to the door when I opened it. My husband would arrive later. I looked forward to those things as I drove.

One day, I will be glorified and residing in my eternal home. I don't know what it will be like. People write books speculating, but I don't know if they're right. Do I care if there are pets in heaven? I just want to be where God has always intended for me to be: with Him. What will that be like? I don't know.

If it's the tiniest fraction as good as that feeling when I pull into the driveway after an absence, it's going to be pretty amazing.