Friday, September 12, 2014


In the days after 9/11, I could not escape the pull of television news. It seemed one of the few ways I could take part in my country's sorrow. Then there came a day when I realized that I had to find my way back to what I could do, and that was to go on in the only place I could--in my home and with my family.

It was mostly at home that I could make a difference. And so like countless others, I began to pick up the pieces and look around me, see what was being neglected and try to do something about it. 

Home, the place we return to at the end of the day, if we are one of the lucky ones.

We cook and we sit down at the table together and clear the dishes and feed the pets and sweep the floor and watch a movie or read a book and turn back the blanket and go to bed. 

All very good stuff, things denied to some and things not enjoyed under present circumstances by many others. 

Homemaking. Making a home.

There was a book by Elizabeth Goudge called Pilgrim's Inn that I read years ago that was a revelation to me and remains to this day one of my favorite books. This quote contains what is, to me, one of the most important themes of the book:

"Lucilla knew always, and Nadine knew in her more domesticated moments, that it was homemaking that mattered. Every home was a brick in the great wall of decent living that men erected over and over again as a bulwark against the perpetual flooding in of evil. But women made the bricks, and the durableness of each civilization depended upon their quality, and it was no good weakening oneself for the brick-making by thinking about the flood."

[Pilgrim's Inn by Elizabeth Goudge]

Think back some years with me, will you? Back to a time we really don't like to think about. To the weeks after the war in Iraq began. Not to the yay or nay of it, but to the interviews journalists did in what was left of Iraqi  homes.

Do you remember the camera going into houses where women were still doing their best to make a home for their families? There were curtains hung, a vase of flowers on a bright tablecloth. Food being cooked in a pot for the family meal. 

These women knew, more than any of us, how important it is to make a nest, a home, even under terrible circumstances. 

Obviously there is much sadness in this world of ours today, much evil. But we have to go on with our brick-making, don't we? 

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