"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

Monday, March 19, 2012

Have a Little Mercy

We were driving on our way to Costco when I heard a scream from the back
seat. The conversation went something like this...

Mom: What was that?
Brother: She (sister) is trying to drink her old milk.
Sister: He (brother) won't let go of my drink.
Mom: Give your sister her milk.

Faint struggling could be heard for a couple seconds.

Brother: It spilled.
Mom: How full was it?
Sister, almost crying: It dumped all over my clothes.
Brother: (In a it-wasn't-my-fault tone) Just a little bit.
Mom: Where is the milk?
Children: What milk?
Mom: The milk that spilled!
Brother: I don't know.
Sister: Do you mean the chocolate milk?

So please have a little mercy on us. There are days when logic never enters the conversation until Dad gets home.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Lost Virtue of Steadfastness

I read this article in the latest Touchstone magazine and I found it comforting, especially in terms of motherhood. 

God's Place and Ours: On Mutability and the Lost Virtue of Steadfastness   
by Anthony Esolen

Here are a few excerpts:

"Something of [the] longing for what is not here, this joy of the pilgrimage, has set deep roots in the soul of Western man.  But it has become detached from an end to the pilgrimage.
We thus lose a sense of home, both the eternal and the temporal....

We are under compulsion of perpetual mobility precisely because, without God, to settle means to acknowledge defeat, and to rest means to die within.  The metaphysical condition of such a life is divorce. We change towns, we change schools, we change houses, we change husbands and wives, we change churches, we change faiths.  We go off into the distance, as we set at a distance those nearby things we still pretend to cherish, as, for instance, our children.  We look down upon women who "stay at home," thinking of them rather as creatures who are stuck in mud.  We almost treat as pious heroes those who are determined to leave their homes and never return, yet who still claim some tenuous and sentimental attachment to what they have abandoned.  We invert the wisdom of St. Paul.  We discard all things as if we discarded them not."

"We are not angels, we are not disembodied wills.  Jesus never instructs us to love "humanity."
He instructs us to love the all-too-physical neighbor."

"The metaphysical condition of the faithful Christian is not divorce, but marriage, not mobility and mutability but steadfastness.  'Can a woman forget her suckling child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?' asks the Lord. 'Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee' (Is. 49:15).
Consider the image.  The child longs for the mother, for her breast; he feeds from her very substance.  It is that intimacy of place and person that expresses, in more than a metaphor, the steadfast love of God for his people.  For the Lord 'hateth putting away,' says the prophet (Mal. 2:16).  On what grounds may a man divorce his wife?  Jesus dismisses the motive behind divorce entirely.  A man moves from his father and mother so that he may 'cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh' (Matt. 19:5).  The young man who has squandered his inheritance in that ever-seductive 'far country,' when he comes to his senses, did not say, 'I must leave this pigsty and follow my fortune elsewhere.' He said, 'I will arise and go to my father' (Luke 15:18).  The Lord is the Good Shepherd who seeks the one sheep gone astray.  'Jerusalem, my happy home,' sings the poet, 'when shall I come to thee?'"

"There is a difference between being in a location, and dwelling; between remaining, with its sense of being left behind by the more adventurous, and abiding, with its sense of devotion and full-hearted peace.  'How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!'"

"It is doubtful whether, without steadfastness, without devotion to this place, this work, this spouse, this land, we can enjoy even a decent human life.  A tumbleweed is not only rootless.  It is directionless.  It is blown about by the chance of the wind, quitting here, divorcing there, forgetting here, abandoning there.  In following our own purposes, regardless of the claims of steadfastness upon us, we lose our purpose, and turn with every turn of the fickle heart."

"We are not all monks.  But we are parents, and children, and neighbors, and citizens.  God has given us one another, and our homes, as worthy objects of our steadfast love, and as the grounds for preparing ourselves for the eternal home, the city of everlasting foundations.  That Jerusalem is illuminated neither by the turning sun or moon, not by the electric static of the news, such as it always is, but by the eternal glory of God, and the Lamb."