Perhaps a woman’s work is like a heart’s work. The heart could feel mundane. Pumping the same couple pints of blood through the same physical body. The same rhythm. The same thing over and over again…
A hidden camera in your house or mine,
pointed straight at the kitchen table
would probably look like this:
Two hands, a woman’s hands, straighten placemats
set napkins, silverware, plates, toast, cereal, cups
pick up napkins, silverware, plates
gently fold placemats to be shaken over sink
replace placemats, oops, remove them again, remembering to wash off the sticky spots on the table that were not prevented by the placemats, napkins, or bibs
(remove stray books, tin child-size frying pans, dolphin necklace, and toy cell phone)
lay down big plastic sheet for craft
plop down with plastic tub of finger paints
set out paper plate palates, paints, smocks, brushes
Two hands, woman’s hands, paint with smaller hands
pick up sheets of paper, sopping with color, to hang on the refrigerator
screw caps back onto paints, untie smocks, clean brushes, remove paper plates
wash off plastic mat, and colorful spots on the table that were not prevented by the mat, plates, or smocks
(remove small plastic doll shoes, paper clippings, pipecleaner inventions, etc.)
set out lunch dishes, silverware, hard boiled eggs, salt, pepper, sliced apples, and cups
stack plates – one with leftover yolk, the other with leftover whites – both with a stray apple slice or two
set out books, notebooks, coloring pages, crayons, pens, pencils
write, color, think, and create with a child or alone
close books, notebooks; gather crayons, pens, and pencils
tear out admirable coloring pages to hang next to the drying paints
disappear under table to gather pencil shavings, crumbs, previously over-looked egg-droppings, paint splotches, and *always* a stray bead or two
(remove folded up bits of paper, telephone, dolls, socks – socks?! – crumby napkins, etc.)
set napkins, silverware, plates, glasses, candles
lift fork to mouth, cup to mouth
pass salad dressing, rolls, napkins
pick up dropped forks, rolls, and napkins for a little one
gather plates, napkins, glasses, candles
The hidden camera will record one hundred days that look just like this: a small wooden table, enduring the same ritual over and over again, the same 2 hands working the same fabric over and over again. And that’s just the kitchen table. And you know I’m under-estimating.
But if we pan out and point the camera at our lives…
…to see the constant cleaning, reordering, revitalizing, helping, beautifying, and organizing – not just in the corners of our houses, but in the corners of our relationships as well – we’ll see homes being built from the deepest reaches of the foundations to the highest aspirations of the trusses.
…to see the constant praying, longing, thinking, wondering, caring, helping, beautifying, and repenting that work over and over and over ourselves, our husbands, our children, our neighbors and friends…
…to see that it’s this work that builds homes and lives.
What feels like mundane, ritual repetition, is in fact revitalizing, catalyzing, creative building.
Perhaps a woman’s work is like a heart’s work. The heart could feel mundane. Pumping the same couple pints of blood through the same physical body. The same rhythm. The same thing over and over again.
But the heart doesn’t feel that way – and we don’t feel that way about the heart – because the whole point of the heart is that it works out the new blood.
That it beats a new beat.
We rely on the newness of “over and over again”.
Each beat – as repetitive as it seems – builds a life.