Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Hugeness of Her Task

I'm often encouraged by reading Terry's blog, Breathing Grace.  When she posted these words from G.K. Chesterton I wanted to pass them on.

...when people begin to talk about this domestic duty as not merely difficult but trivial and dreary, I simply give up the question.  For I cannot with the utmost energy of imagination conceive what they mean.  When domesticity, for instance, is called drudgery, all the difficulty arises from a double meaning in the word.  If drudgery only means dreadfully hard work, I admit the woman drudges in the home, as a man might drudge at the Cathedral of Amiens or drudge behind a gun at Trafalgar.  But if it means that the hard work is more heavy because it is trifling, colorless and of small import to the soul, then as I say, I give it up; I do not know what the words mean.

To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets, cakes, and books; to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it.  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.

G.K. Chesterton, from "The Emancipation of Domesticity"


Felicity said...

Brilliant!! I need to memorize this!

Choate Family said...

Well said! I cherish the opportunity to nurture the minds and bodies and souls of my family.

Mrs. Squirrel said...

I need to visit your blog on a more regular basis. That was incredibly uplifting!

Thanks so much for posting it!


The dB family said...

G.K. Chesterton is a wise man, and you are a wise mama!


Ann said...

Wow. Thanks so much for sharing!