Tedium is the granddaughter of despondency, and the daughter of slothfulness. In order to drive it away, labor at your work, and do not be slothful in prayer. The tedium will pass, and zeal will come. And if to this you add patience and humility, then you will be rid of all misfortunes and evils.
~St. Ambrose of Optina
Thanks to Gladsome Lights for the quote.
Normally, I'm not easily bored at home. I love being at home and I would rather be home than a thousand different places, but today was one of those days when Tedium and Sloth Sisters showed up. I have a list of things that I need to do all written out and stuck to the frig with a magnet, but today all I could do was to look at it, grab a cookie, and walk on by. I didn't feel like cleaning, but since when do we only have to do what we feel like doing? Did my Lord command me to love others if I feel like it or show hospitality only when I feel like being nice?
I decided to ignore my feelings of tedium and tackle the living room. I set 4:00 as my quitting time and then I would reward myself with coffee and cookies. I washed walls, shined the picture glass, pulled out the furniture and vacuumed. I washed the windows inside and out, and let me tell you it was a chilly 30 degree day standing outside on the step stool with wet rags in my hands! The more I did, the more I wanted to do. I accomplished everything except shampooing the carpets which I intended to finish tomorrow anyway. My afternoon coffee was extra-delicious and I felt so much better having knocked off another thing from that To Do List. Old St. Ambrose was right. Labor at your work and zeal will come!
While sitting with my cuppa Joe, I began reading a book that my daughter-in-love brought by called Country Living Simple Country Wisdom. Now this book does not really have anything "new" in it that we haven't heard about before in the realms of homemaking, but still, I enjoyed paging through it and gathering a few new-to-me tips. And you know what? I was further inspired to do a couple more things in my home that had been neglected. I descaled the coffee pot and the tea kettle and dumped the boiled water down my kitchen sink along with some baking soda to freshen it. I took the screens off the window over my kitchen sink and washed the glass. It's that time of year when I won't put the screens back up since the cold temperatures keep the bugs down and I can enjoy looking through clear glass with no screen obstruction. There is something wonderful about looking out through clear, clean glass that makes me feel more connected to the outdoors and less confined.
I really appreciated this quote from the book on cleanliness:
The world makes a lot of demands on us. There's always something that needs to be done, someone we need to make time for, an item to pick up here and another to drop off there....and often, at the end of the day, any number of to-dos and should-dos are already casting their shadow over tomorrow.
Your home should be a refuge from all that. The "shelter" in the food, clothing and shelter equation means more than mere protection from wind and rain or a place to stow one's belongings. It also means shelter from the stresses of the greater world, a little oasis where we can relax, pursue our own interests, and share time with those we love.
I don't know about you, but it is really difficult for me to pursue my interests or start a new project when my home is really out of order or if I'm not tending to the main business that I need to be doing . I'm not talking about simple "signs of life" messes, but rather things that really need to be done like sweeping a filthy mud room floor, unloading and reloading the dishwasher, picking up the accumulation of stuff that seems to pile up on the counter by the phone or putting away the last load of folded laundry. Just a wee bit of tidying up can set my mind at ease to focus on other things or the people in my life. Does that mean I can't do anything unless my house is spotless? Absolutely not. I'd never sew a stitch if I had to live that way. But for me, if there is a reasonable orderliness in the home, it sets my mind at ease to enjoy things like embroidery, doing handicrafts, baking, or reading a book.
Today as I was looking at two boxes of apples that a hunter brought to me as a "thank you gift," I began to wonder what my homemaking responsibility was concerning them -- the apples, I mean. They were nice apples, but the majority of them were the size of a golf ball. I was truly delighted to receive the apples and I have cooked with them and shared them and frozen them, but now I am ready to throw them to the chickens and be done with it all. I did peel and slice a lot more apples for the freezer this afternoon, but I began to wonder: when is enough enough? I hated to waste. I hate to throw away, and I wished for a Bible verse that said, "Once you've peeled and sliced and made all the apple sauce and apple butter you can possibly want for an entire winter, it's just fine to toss the remaining apples to the chickens." I know it's not in there because I've read The Book, but while I was pondering the dilemma of too many apples, I was reminded of this particular verse from Ecclesiastes 3.
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven......(v.6) A time to keep, and a time to throw away.
THANK YOU GOD! There IS a time to throw away! Well, today is not the time to throw the apples away, but instead, it is the time to put them in the garage
until they rot to eat fresh while they last or to use in an apple centerpiece or to throw at the deer when they come traipsing through my yard. Surely those little apples have more uses before they are thrown away, but at least I have given myself permission to do so at the appointed time.
Homemaking is not all about cleaning or making the bed with hospital corners (although I know of no other way to make the bed) nor is it about how many jars of applesauce is needed before the lady of the house decides to throw out the apples. But I have found that homemaking is about learning to balance life realistically between clean and dirty, between making do and doing without, between good and good enough, and mostly it is about making Home a peaceful refuge for the weary soul and the place where somebody is waiting for you and will be glad you've come.
Just try to be angry with someone who fed you something delicious.