Commonplaces: about holiness

I just finished a book called Holiness for Housewives. Yes, I KNOW. (And it’s written by a man, no less!) It’s so embarrassing, I literally stored the book cover-side-down and kept it hidden underneath my copy of Twilight.

(I’m kidding about Twilight; I actually don’t even own a copy any more. But I do hide this book around my own house because the title, the cover art, the whole concept just feels so archaic that I feel like I need to host a meeting for the suffragettes to keep myself in balance.)

But what I read inside the pages made it worth the mortification, because it’s been resonating with me in a major way:

So if God wills that you should be bowed over the sink instead of over the pew in your favorite church, then washing dishes is for you, now, the most perfect thing you can possibly do…

You will be tempted to say that it is impossible to serve God while worrying about the upkeep of a house…you will say you are unsuited temperamentally, physically, spiritually, by training…But none of those things disqualifies. It can only be repeated that your whole business is still to look for God in the midst of all this. You will not find Him anywhere else. If you leave your dishes, your housekeeping, your telephone calls, your children’s everlasting questions, your ironing, and your invitations to take care of themselves while you go off and search for our Lord’s presence in prayer, you will discover nothing but self.

This is the first lesson for the Christian wife and mother today: to let go of what once may have been–and under other circumstances might now be–a recollected self, and take on, with both hands, the plan of God. Indeed it is the lesson for every Christian in every age: it is the gospel principle of dying on one plane in order to live on another.

And, this:

If living in the senses and for the senses has produced the civilization in which we exist, it seems peculiarly futile to turn for relive and escape to those very senses that have been at the bottom of all the trouble.

A more sensible course would be to look in precisely the opposite direction and try to bathe the over-materialized spirit in the things of spirit and not in the things of matter. Weary bodies, frayed dispositions, broken hopes, dampened enthusiasms, and so on are not likely to get much good out of excitement. This is what they are suffering from–the hollowness of a departed thrill. They will find their fruition in God, not away from Him; not in distraction, but in closer union.

If we were to realize that God is our true rest, we would waste far less time running around looking for somewhere peaceful or pleasurable where we could throw off all our cares and enjoy ourselves.

Commonplaces at Running in Circles


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