Monday, July 14, 2014

Building Cathedrals

Sometimes, when I'm out in public, someone asks me what I do for a living.

It's an innocent question, really. 

After all, much of who we are stems from what we do, and if nothing else, it allows for some polite chitchat.

So, I answer. 

"I watch children in my home and stay home with my kids."

And then comes the look.

Glazed eyes, head nodding gently, benign smile.

I can practically see the wheels turning.

And for many people in this world that continues to value jobs outside the home so strongly, the idea of staying home and caring for children is truly mind-numbing.

And sometimes, it can be.

After all, the majority of my days are spent in the mundane.

Pack and unpack the travel bag. Change diapers. Start laundry. Wash dishes. Correct behavior. Read stories. Arrange play dates. Prepare meals.

And the craziest thing of all?

All of these mundane tasks must be repeated ad nauseam. Many times a day. Everyday. For years.

But, friends, there is joy to be found in the everyday.

Buried in that soil are beautiful flowers and vegetables that need just a little tending to flourish.

Hidden in those stories read time and time again is a child on the verge of discovering the world of books.

Unearthed below the piles of dishes and laundry and dirty floors and endless meal preparation is a family walking in the door and finding peace at home despite the chaos of the world.

There is value here.

Have you heard this story?

"A man came across three masons who were working at chipping chunks of granite from large blocks.

The first seemed unhappy at his job, chipping away and frequently looking at his watch. When the man asked what it was that he was doing, the first mason responded, rather curtly, “I’m hammering this stupid rock, and I can’t wait ’til 5 when I can go home."

A second mason, seemingly more interested in his work, was hammering diligently and when asked what it was that he was doing, answered, “Well, I’m molding this block of rock so that it can be used with others to construct a wall. It’s not bad work, but I’ll sure be glad when it’s done.”

A third mason was hammering at his block fervently, taking time to stand back and admire his work. He chipped off small pieces until he was satisfied that it was the best he could do. When he was questioned about his work he stopped, gazed skyward and proudly proclaimed, “I…am building a cathedral!"

Is the work boring, repetitive, anti-climactic?

At times, it sure is.

Some days, we crave a new project, a meal with friends, an evening among adults.

But what we do in our homes is life-giving in the most basic, literal sense.

We are giving life.

Perhaps I should respond differently the next time someone asks me what I do for a living.

"Me?  Oh, nothing much.  I'm just building a cathedral."

2 comments:

  1. Well said, and you are raising wonderful, responsible, thoughtful, and kind children and this gives me hope for our future!

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