Thursday, October 3, 2019


I've been thinking a lot about home recently.  My home especially.  My children's home.  Thinking about our family culture, our home's atmosphere.  The memories my children will take with them.  I'm not thinking of the extraordinary memories: the beach vacations, the road trips, the "extra" things; but the ordinary memories: the family dinners, the day to day service to each other, walks, playing in the backyard.  These are the things that will stay with them forever.  When they catch that certain smell that brings back a flood of memories, what will those be?

This morning I sat down to my late breakfast (sick kids and a traveling husband have thrown me off rhythm) and picked up my current "morning" read, Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot.  This is the read along book this month for Simply Convivial.  I'm a few weeks late starting it, as I wanted to finish Seven Story Mountain by Thomas Merton first (only a year late on that Well Read Mom selection!).  Anyway, I'm only a couple of chapters in, but I know this book is just what I need right now.

Side note: These little cuties were on top of my husband's parent's wedding cake as well as our own.

In this current chapter, Elliot is commenting on an old picture she found of the house she was born in.  Her mother is young and standing on the front porch.  Behind her is the black and white rendition of the house.  Many years later, Elliot and her husband returned to the house and snapped a color picture.  She wanted to ask the current owners if she could go inside and revisit the kitchen and balcony and all those memories she has of her childhood home, but she resisted.
There was something wondrously comforting about knowing, as I stood before that unremembered house, that this is where my parents lived, where they loved, where they welcomed into their small cold-water flat the newborn sister of their son Philip.
What will that look like for my own children?  Will they remember the good times as well as the bad?  Will they have a sense of comfort when they think of their childhood home?  Will they long to revisit it?  Elliot continues:
All of the past, I believe, is a part of God's story of each child of His--a mystery of love and sovereignty, written before the foundation of the world, never a hindrance to the task He has designed for us, but rather the very preparation suited to our particular personality's need. 

It is a comfort to know that this atmosphere is not solely reliant on me.  There is grace at work within these walls.  And when we fall (and we do!  Often!) we can rest in the knowledge that the family is still here.  That there is forgiveness and grace.  We can get up, dust ourselves off, and try again, like a baby learning to walk.  We are learning to walk together.

Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.
It is there, about the child, his natural element, precisely as the atmosphere of the earth is about us.  It is thrown off, as it were, from persons and things, stirred by events, sweetened by love, ventilated, kept in motion, by the regulated action of common sense.  - Charlotte Mason

We live in a culture that disparages home.  That despises family.  But deep within each of our souls is a longing for it.  Perhaps that is why it is attacked so viciously.
The future of the world and the Church passes through the family. - Pope St. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio
Destroy the family, destroy the church.  That is the mantra of culture today.  That is why, more than ever, home is so important.  Outside activities can be good and helpful.  Building community with like minded families is important.  But home is foundational.   Nothing can replace it.  No matter how good and worthwhile the activity, it cannot replace home.

So I question myself: How is our home atmosphere?  What can I do to improve it?  Where do I need to trust God to fill in what I lack with His grace?  And I try to always remember (and remind my children) what Peter said to the Church:
Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of sins.  Be hospitable to one another without complaining.  As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace.  Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. -1 Peter 4:8-11


Kate said...

Beautiful, Cmerie! God bless you and yours!

Cmerie said...

Thank you Kate! I've been thinking of you lately. God bless you all as well!