Thursday, February 11, 2010

Receiving As Gifts The Homes We Have

I'm sadly almost done with a book I borrowed from a friend. I have enjoyed it so much, I'm kind of bummed it's almost over. Ha! Keeping House: The Litany of Everday Life by Margaret Kim Peterson was a great book by an intelligent woman who apparently loves God, her family, her home, her church and the lost. She also has an outstanding way with words, and she passes on fresh perspective that motivates you as you aim to tackle the most ordinary of tasks (ex: laundry). I was suprised how helpful it was to us, us because I read aloud a good chunk of the book to Dustin.

The book actually hits on everything from attacking your dirty dishes to clothing a household to contentment to giving things away, even things you might enjoy or use. Two particular quotes stood out to me. Actually more than 2, but these will get you started...

There has surely always been a gap between the way people keep their houses and the way they would like ideally to keep them. But many of us, I suspect, are demoralized by the task of keeping house in part because we know that our houses, no matter how well kept, will never look like the palaces in the dream house publications. And so we give up, preferring unattainable ideals to less than perfect realities.
An alternative might be humility and gratitude that in a world in which not all are decently housed, we have been given the gift of a home, plus a willingness to aspire to a more modest ideal and to work to achieve it. Instead of nurturing dissatisfaction with the shortcomings of our present home, whatever we may perceive them to be, perhaps we can turn our energies toward receiving as gifts the homes we have and to creating in them enough order and tidiness to promote convenience and peace and hospitality.

When there are limits to the numbers of things and the kinds of things there are in a house, the house can become a place that moves back and forth comfortably between being messy to being tidy. Houses inevitably become messy because people live there, and they are busy with all manner of things. But if there are places to put things and it is simple and convenient to put them there, then picking up the house becomes a kind of active meditation, like putting a favorite puzzle together and seeing the familiar picture – the tidy house – appear anew.

No comments: