Saturday, March 14, 2009

holy dishes, batman!

I am contemplating a major Spring Clean around here. Ld has been after me to ‘clean up my act’ and get to the sinkhole that is our garage. Just the thought alone has overwhelmed and depressed me. But, for me, today, it goes way beyond that. I have pronounced myself a degenerate loser. Challenges and failures in my mothering and my total ambivalence for day-in- day- out chores and tasks that do not ever energize or excite me confirm this. Ahem. Anybody else need to ‘reel in the crazy’ and do the self-talk; the kind that usually calms and soothes negative, distorted and defeatist thoughts? Anyone else need a bit of encouragement and big ‘mo today?

Some fav quotes that nearly always help:

From Kathleen Norris, The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and "Women's Work"

"Our culture's ideal self, especially the accomplished, professional self, rises above necessity, the humble, everyday, ordinary tasks that are best left to unskilled labor. The comfortable lies we tell ourselves regarding these 'little things'--that they don't matter, and that daily personal and household chores are of no significance to us spiritually--are exposed as falsehoods when we consider that reluctance to care for the body is one of the first symptoms of extreme melancholia. Shampooing the hair, washing the body, brushing the teeth, drinking enough water, taking a daily vitamin, going for a walk, as simple as they seem, are acts of self-respect. They enhance one's ability to take pleasure in oneself and in the world.”

And then later she says:
…”I was slow to recognize that combating sloth, being willing to care for oneself and others on a daily basis, is no small part of what constitutes basic human sanity, a faith in the everyday."

I love that: faith in the everyday. I love the whole book, only like 88 pages, but very insightful. A reminder that domestic rituals are not just trivial mindless activities. There can be a kind of spirituality associated with the repetitive and mundane, like doing dishes or laundry. (By this measure ld, you are the Dalai Lama)☺ In fact, considering their enormous life-giving importance, the feeding and clothing of a family and maintaining of a household can be done in a contemplative, spiritual way and can provide the motivation needed to, say, clean out the garage. Yup.

Which leads me to another quote I love, sort of ‘be not weary in the whole motherhood thing even though it never ends and you’ve totally screwed it up’:

“The family circle is everlasting,and so are its responsibilities and blessings. It is an act of greatness and heroism to hold a family together, to set before them an example, to teach them in ways of truth, to live a life of consistency…,to counsel, to love, to understand, to pray, to be patient, and to do the thousand other unnamed things that it takes to rear a family, to make a house a home—and to do it everyday, sometimes without seeming gratitude—and to lead a family righteously unto eternal life.

And since it is our Father’s purpose to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children, what could better be our purpose as parents? And what if it takes 20 years—or 40—or forever? What can life better be used for? Keeping a home, a family, going and together, is heroic.”

-Elder Richard L. Evans, October 1964 General Conference

To all the above ‘persevere in dishes and children’ quotes I will also add:

“The only time we fail in the home is when we give up on each other.”
- Marvin J. Ashton

I feel better.

1 comment:

Dana said...

Thanks for the quotes. I really needed them. I've often looked down on the day to day chores and wished they would just take care of themselves so I could focus on what I deemed "the important things". However, I now find that when I keep up w/ the day to day I have more time and energy for the "important things". Your are so wise Auntie C.S.