“Once upon a time there was a man so surly and cross, he never thought his wife did anything right around the house. One evening, during hay-making time, he came home complaining that dinner wasn’t on the table, the baby was crying, and the cow had not been put in the barn. “I work and I work all day,” he growled, “and you get to stay home and mind the house. I wish I had it so easy. I could get dinner ready on time, I’ll tell you that. “Dear love, don’t be so angry,” said his wife. “Tomorrow let’s change our work. I’ll go out with the mowers and cut the hay, and you stay home and mind the house.” The husband thought that would do very well. “I could use a day off,” he said. “I’ll do all your chores in an hour or two, and sleep the afternoon away.”
All jobs, professions and callings are noble and vital if it is God who is behind it. If the Lord calls you to be a Prime Minister or a street sweeper, both careers are of great value if you do it faithfully as unto the Lord. In all we do, we should seek to glorify God. But I nonetheless want to single out one profession. And I begin with a quick story.
In my morning prayer walk with my dog I prayed, as usual, for the neighbours. It is hoped some will come to know the Lord over time. Some of them I have gotten to know a bit and have had chats with. But so many I still do not yet know, or know much about. But my wife would have known most of their names and known so much more about them.
Of course when the children were younger she was a full-time homemaker, while I dutifully commuted off to work each day. But reflecting on that this morning, I had this thought: although what I was doing was part of what God had called me to do, and was therefore important work, in so many ways it did not compare with what she had done for so long.
In most families throughout so much of history, it was this way: the husband/father would head off to his job, while the wife/mother would stay home and do a million tasks, most important of which was raising the children. So while I did my daily work away from home, she would be there basically 24/7, doing countless tasks – many of them unbeknown to me – as well as capably raising three boys.
It is really only now that she is gone that I see how VERY much she had done, not just as a mother but as a homemaker. As I just told a friend yesterday over a cuppa, we must never take our spouse for granted. The fact that various neighbours showed up to her funeral demonstrates what an impact she had, not just in the home, but in the surrounding community.
So if I had to choose, I would without a moment’s hesitation say that what she had done as a mother and homemaker far outweighed what I had done as a worker – even though my work was involved in key things like pro-family, pro-faith and pro-life activism. The impact of her job as a loving mother will last for all eternity.
I sometimes wonder how much of an impact my work will have. And the longer she is gone, the more I miss her, and the more I see what an amazing woman, wife and mother she was. And I see that she had done so much more than I ever did. Indeed, I do not think I could have done the half of it.
Sure, to her – and most other mothers – it may have seemed like mundane, monotonous, and humdrum daily work. Mothers in the midst of another mountain of dirty diapers to wash and the like will likely not have a very lofty or very glamorous view of the work they are doing.
But it is all part of this wonderful profession and holy calling that we know as motherhood. I would not trade places with my wife for all the money (or books) in the world. What she did was just unbeatable, and I would not have gone the distance had I tried to do what she did.
With this in mind, let me run with an old story. I recently reviewed a terrific volume edited by William Bennett called The Book of Virtues. It contains hundreds of stories, poems and essays celebrating the moral virtues. See my review here.
And see my review of his follow-up volume, The Moral Compass, which offers more of the same here.