This second chapter of The Hidden Art of Homemaking defines and expounds upon the idea of “hidden art.” I like this because honestly, there’s not much that I consider very artistic about my home or anything I do in it. I love how Edith Schaeffer encourages us homemakers to live in the now instead of the one-day-when-all-my-kids-are-grown:
People so often look with longing into a daydream future, while ignoring the importance of the present. We are all in danger of thinking, “Some day I shall be fulfilled. Some day I shall have the courage to start another life which will develop my talent,” without ever considering the very practical use of that talent today in a way which will enrich other people’s lives, develop the talent, and express the fact of being a creative person. (33)
While making my home beautiful is high on my list of priorities, it’s usually a frustrated desire because I have both limited time and money, not to mention talent. I like how Schaeffer focuses on enriching the lives of others, developing talent, and expressing creativity–those are all things I can do. In fact, when I think about blogging, those three things encapsulate the reasons when I like to blog so much, especially about the books I read. I like to share with others to (hopefully!) enrich their lives, I like to hone what little talent in writing that I possess, and this is a natural outlet for my creativity. I’ve felt lately that I need to focus more on doing these things with people in my real world, not just my virtual one, but that’s a post for another day.
On the flip side of this is the idea that we have to choose how to spend our time. To be honest, I hate this. I want to be able to do it all: homeschool my children, keep an organized and beautiful home, cook delicious and healthy meals, exercise, keep up my own appearance, spend time with my children individually, make time for friends, serve in some sort of ministry, etc. With the recent addition of our fourth child, I am realizing more and more that I can’t do it all. Somehow, it is comforting to hear Schaeffer say so:
To develop “Hidden Art” will also, of course, take time and energy–and the balance of the use of time is a constant individual problem for all of us: what to do, and what to leave undone. One is always having to neglect one thing in order to give precedence to something else. The question is one of priorities. (32)
My problem is not knowing what to leave undone, or desiring to do the thing I should do instead of the thing I want to do. Schaeffer puts the emphasis in the right place:
Does this mean that we should all drop everything to concentrate on trying to develop into great artists? No, of course not. But it does mean that we should consciously do something about it. There should be a practical result of the realization we have been created in the image of the Creator of beauty. (33)
And so I end this post with a few photos of one of the only places in my home currently that I consider visually appealing: our fireplace mantle in our family room. Right now it’s decorated with several things that show we’re a bookish family: a book poster from Jan Brett’s Easter Egg tour and some old Lois Lenski library discards. I also have a couple of ironstone platters and some bird-themed knick-knacks that I love.
When I look at my mantle, I remember two things, and they both have to do with my dear husband: he installed the electrical outlets on either end of the mantle when we repainted the room last year, just so I could put some little lamps up on the mantle. He also encouraged me to purchase a few things on the mantle that I really like: the ironstone and the round jar with the bird on top. These are small things, really, but knowing how he generally doesn’t think much about home decor, etc., they both mean a lot to me because they show he loves me and cares about what I care about. Oh, and they help me forget that the lamp on the left side is already broken, the victim of some anonymous child’s mishandling. 😉