Occasionally, something happens that rocks your world, and nothing is quite the same. I think that’s just happened to me, in a good way. I’m still thinking over the ramifications, but I'm already seeing some impact in our family.
Last night Hubders was reading aloud to me. It was from the book titled: "Strengthening our Families: An In-Depth Look at the Proclamation on the Family". He read me an essay by Kristine Manwaring called: "My Home as a Temple"(pg. 94-96). As she recounted her frustration at her attempts to make her home a sacred place, I felt she had read my thoughts and put them down on paper
Excerpts from her essay are in a different font. The rest are my words.
"Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness" the LDS Bible Dictionary (p.781)" She wrote about how she tried to make her home sacred like the temple (clean, orderly, quiet) and her frustration at her inability to make it so. She eventually started to resent some of the things homes are meant for (cooking and laundry, for instance) because they made messes. Even children coming home from school, resulted in more disarray. She said: "The harder I pushed my family to fit my narrow definition of sacred, the more anxious and less temple-like we all felt"
She came to realize that "the work of feeding, clothing and nurturing one another is every bit as spiritual as it is physical... that when ordinary, life-sustaining tasks are done together as a family, they bind family members to one another in small but critical ways. Tasks that had previously been viewed as "obstacles to sacredness" came to be seen as sacred, in and of themselves. The author came to understand that she doesn’t need to make her home sacred. "The sacredness is somehow already there."
Still quoting the essay:
"My husband and I no longer simply delegate chores to our children each day. We wash dishes and make beds alongside them. By doing so, we have been blessed with opportunities to teach our children and be taught ourselves with a frequency and a depth we previously never imagined...It is only when doing dishes together that my twelve-year-old son, who mostly speaks in monosyllables about his experiences at school, reveals who his friends are and why he has chosen them, the pressure he feels about his grades, how much he likes math, and what he thinks about his teacher. Paradoxically, what I previously labeled "mindless" and once thought of as interruptions to spiritual growth are becoming the core of what makes my home feel sacred."
There was more to her essay, but I’ve included here the parts that spoke the most intensely to my soul. Both Hubders and I changed some things in our interaction with our children today. The difference was immediate, tangible and sweet.
In the past, I’ve always looked at chores as something to finish as quickly as possible so that we can play and have some together time. I did chores with the kids only at first; to teach them how to do it. Once they understood how to perform a chore, they were pretty much on their own; they’d do their chores, while I did mine so that we could then go and do what we really wanted. I now realize that I’ve been going about it all wrong!!! A big part of our together time should be in the chores. So, this morning, I told Girlie-whirl that her and Mommy were going to fold her clothes and put them away together. We went upstairs and folded together. She talked to me about some things that happened in primary on Sunday and we giggled together as I kept tossing unders on her head. It only took about ten minutes, but they were ten of the sweetest minutes she and I had had for days (and we'd had some good ones). As we walked back downstairs, and I pondered what had just happened, I knew that those ten minutes had been sacred in a very real way.
Last night, after reading, Hubders said he felt he needed to start helping the kids with their before-dinner-jobs. So, while Girlie-whirl and I fixed dinner and Bikey-boy set the table, Hubders and Banana-girl emptied the dishwasher. Nothing earth-shattering happened, there was just a nice feeling as the whole family chatted and worked together. It was one of those moments that actually fit the song: "There is Beauty All Around, When there’s Love at home".
We’ll have to see where all of this leads, but my heart tells me, and the Spirit seems to affirm, that we’re on to something big and beautiful here.
Feel free to share if you have any thoughts, or experiences on the subject.