"Your body is the first thing any child of man ever wanted. Therefore dispose yourself to be loved, to be wanted, to be available. Be there for them with a vengeance. Be a gracious, bending woman. Incline your ear, your heart, your hands to them.... To be a Mother is to be the sacrament - the effective symbol - of place. Mothers do not make homes, they are our home." from Bed and Board, Robert Farrar Capon

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The wife is like the fire.

     "...There must be in every center of humanity one human being upon a larger plan: 
one who does not "give her best," but gives her all.

Our old analogy of the fire remains the most workable one.  The fire needs not blaze like electricity nor boil like boiling water: its point is that it blazes more than water and warms more than light.  

The wife is like the fire, or to put things in their proper proportion, the fire is like the wife.

Like the fire, the woman is expected to cook: not to excel in cooking, but to cook; to cook better than her husband who is earning the coke by lecturing on botany or breaking stones.

Like the fire, the woman is expected to tell tales to the children, not original and artistic tales but tales - better tales than would probably be told by a first class cook....

Woman must be a cook, but not a competitive cook; a school mistress, but not a competitive school mistress; a house decorator, but not a competitive house decorator; a dress maker, but not a competitive dress maker.  She should not have one trade but many hobbies; she, unlike the man, may develop all her second bests....

Women were not kept at home in order to keep them narrow;
on the contrary, they were kept at home in order to keep them broad."

from The Emancipation of Domesticity, What's Wrong With the World, by G. K. Chesterton

By the Hearth, by Platt Powell Ryder

(You gotta love that last line!)


  1. What a great description of a wife. Our vocation is very freeing and creative.

  2. Funny you should mention that last line, Leah. The article I sent you via e-mail has a quote by G.K. Chesterton:
    “How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the rule of three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No. A woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.”
    So, as the words of the song plead "Therefore, O God, strengthen my hands" and He does through His Word, my husband and fellowship with my friends. God's Peace. - Michelle

    1. Yes, I love that quote too. I've got that posted somewhere in the archives on my blog, and Mary put it up *here* as well. It can never be said too many times I think. :)

  3. She may develop all her second-bests...
    We can be creatively all-over-the-place- indeed, we ought to be. We ought to be as broad as their interests and needs are! How exhausting, but how huge- anything but narrow! :)

    Thank you for ANOTHER great thought to carry with me this week.

    1. That makes me feel a little better about the how low the level is that I do everything. I feel like I'm spread so thin some days that I don't do anything very well. So, cheers to my second bests (third, fourth, fifth?)! :P

  4. I love this, what a great way to describe the role that we all aspire to do well everyday. I especially like how it's stated that we're not expected to excel in cooking or go overboard in any area. I think too many homemakers (myself included) can get caught up feeling as though we need to create dishes and crafts that look like a Martha Stewart creation, which is far from the truth. We just need to take care of our families and homes, which definitely don't require perfection, just things done with love!

  5. Taking care of our families and homes, not with perfection, but with love. I like that.

  6. Last line. Ha, ha ;-)
    Grace K.