Monday, February 15, 2010

A Mother's Work

Last Friday I read the following excerpt from In conversation with God, a daily devotional that I cannot recommend enough. This passage really struck me.

Iron which lies idle is consumed by rust, and becomes brittle and useless. But if it is used for work it is much more useful and attractive. It is in no way inferior to silver itself. The field that lies fallow produces no healthy crop, but only weeds, thistles, thorns and useless plants. The cultivated acres are filled with ripe fruits. In short, every being is diminished by idleness, and is improved by the exercise of the activity proper to it. This is just as true for the housewife and mother who must spend many hours looking after her home and bringing up her children, as it is for the man who is self-employed, or for the student, or for the head of the firm or the worker in the last place on the production line.

God wants from us human work that is well done. this means our working hard, with order, skill, competence and a striving for perfection; it means a completed job with no rough edges, no flaws or blemishes. It means serious work and an end-product that not only looks good, but is good. It doesn't matter whether it is manual work or intellectual work, whether we are the ones who plan the work or the ones who carry it out, whether our efforts are being supervised or not. The Christian brings something new to his work. Apart from the features we mentioned, he does it for God. He presents it to him as a daily offering which will have eternal value.

Wow. Yeah. This was humbling for me. A lot of my work has rough edges. Then again, I do think that the demands of mothering requires a flexibility that sometimes requires an acceptance of less than perfect work. Although the greatest work that a mother does has nothing to do with the tidiness of the home or the cleanliness of the bathroom. Right?


Suzanne said...

Right. I agree, however, now that I am home more with noone around and not as much to do, I believe I could take some of the rough edges off of what my work around here looks like. Then again, I always seem to notice more of what needs done, cleaned, or improved during the winter..I think someone would connect that with warming up for a spring cleaning urge or something like that. :) Sincerely, though, we could all take more effort on for a job better done.

I recently had a problem also, with my very minimal part-time job at the card shop. I really try to work well there and to share what being a good Catholic Christian might look like to my co-workers, boss, people shopping..with more regards to how I act than what I am able to "sell." Still we have problems with bosses, don't we, from time to time, or they us. In my recent problem..there aren't too many, I was fussed at a bit improperly and like with kids, sometimes, bosses don't remember to acknowledge the best we do often enough. I wanted to go in and "explain" myself better to stand up for myself. Well, I thought about it, prayed about it, and listened to the Voice of God, which in this case, I felt was calling me to let this person see the very best side of me...that I go in and just act like the mature woman I was meant to act like..turn the other cheek this particular time and surprise her.
All the arguing in the world won't do any good if one is with a person that is bent on being "right," and she usually is and she was determined this time. It did more good for me to go in calmly and just start a new day. I'm even sure it will be brought up again during a review and I've still made up my mind ...I'm not going there. In my heart, I know that I do about as good work as one can possibly do and I'm only pray to leave knowing that noone can say anything negative about this Catholic Christian employee. Having said that, if it were of anything of big importance, I would stand up for the right thing..this was just one of those things that don't matter in the long run..not really..not just to be "right" and make rough edges. :) I don't know if that went along with this, but it was just a reflection that hit me because we also do things outside of our and I. :)

breadgirl said...

Hello Rosemary
This is a lovely post. Humbling, yes! I think we are all a bit rough around the edges sometimes but I really believe that Our Dear Lord understands far better than our friends or family. I agree with you. A mother's work is about far greater things than how tidy the bathroom is. God bless you.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

As He was growing up Jesus helped His earthly father as a carpenter. He learnt from him and no doubt He made some things with wood.

Can you imagine Jesus making a table with a wobbly leg?

No ... then why should we? Let our work be as good as we can make it, not wobbly.

God bless.

Rosemary Bogdan said...

Thank you for the comments. No, Victor, I cannot imagine Jesus making a table with a wobbly leg. You're right. However, for busy moms, sometimes "as good as we can make it" falls short of truly excellent work--like the cleaning of a room when there's a sick child to attend to, for example.