Friday, July 22, 2011

The Home of the Noble Woman

 This is a lengthy quote, but challenging to the laziness and apathy creeping into my days, so I beg you to bear with it.
 "The man`s power is active, progressive, defensive. He is eminently the doer, the creator, the discoverer, the defender. His intellect is for speculation and invention; his energy for adventure, for war, and for conquest, wherever war is just, wherever conquest necessary.
But the woman`s power is for rule, not for battle, - and her intellect is not for invention or creation, but for sweet ordering, arrangement, and decision. She sees the qualities of things, their claims, and their places. Her great function is Praise: she enters into no contest, but infallibly judges the crown of contest. By her office, and place, she is protected from all danger and temptation. The man, in his rough work in open world, must encounter all peril and trial: to him, therefore, must be the failure, the offense, the inevitable error: often he must be wounded, or subdued; often misled; and always hardened. But he guards the woman from all this; within his house, as ruled by her, unless she herself has sought it, need enter no danger, no temptation, no cause of error or offense.
 This is the true nature of home - it is the place of Peace; the shelter, not only from all injury, but from all terror, doubt, and division. In so far as it is not this, it is not home: so far as the anxieties of the outer life penetrate into it, and the inconsistently-minded, unknown, unloved, or hostile society of the outer world is allowed by either husband or wife to cross the threshold, it ceases to be home; it is then only a part of that outer world which you have roofed over, and lighted fire in....
And wherever a true wife comes, this home is always round her. The stars only may be over her head; the glowworm in the night cold grass may be the only fire at her foot: but home is yet wherever she is; and for a noble woman it stretches far round her, better than ceiled with cedar, or painted with vermilion, shedding its quiet light far, for those who else were homeless."
                                  - John Ruskin, Sesame and Lillies
 I am to rule my home, not allow my flesh to rule me, though time on the computer is so fun and the couch is so comfortable. I ask myself, am I applying my intellect to the sweet ordering of my home? That would actually require thought. My great function is praise. Who did I praise today? Oooh...must work on that one. Am I inviting danger and temptations to enter our home, would I set them in the path of my children or before my own feet? Is my home a place of peace and shelter?

Am I roofing over the world and lighting a fire and calling it home?

We light our lamps, in this house built by the Lord (Psalm 127:1), and its quiet light shines in the darkness for those who else were homeless. My own family would be homeless without my work, but my work, done well, makes room for more. This reminds me of Isaiah 54:2-3, "lengthen the cords, strengthen the pegs." I strive to be a noble woman who stretches home far around her.

Read Chapter 5 of Sesame and Lillies here.

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