I have “enjoyed” a burst of domesticity this morning, in between stitching together liturgy for Epiphany (when we celebrate the safe arrival of an unknown number of wise men to see baby, or indeed, toddler, Jesus). So far I have bled over clean pillowcases, burnt myself on the iron, and decided that apart from dealing promptly with the fresh cat sick, further cleaning can wait.
From this you may gather that domesticity is not my forte, and you’d be right. But today, it got me thinking, what if I’d been born a hundred, or even fifty, years earlier? A child in a family living in a Lodge on an estate (of the “big house’ variety, not the modern sort) would have found employment somewhere within the boundaries, and my options would have been limited. If I’d been very lucky, I might have become a schoolteacher: that would have been tough on my pupils! More likely I’d have become a domestic servant – parlour maid, scullery maid, probably not a nursery maid. I could have landed the tougher end of the stick and ended up in the Laundry (and it still makes me laugh when I go past the Old Laundry – someone has gentrified it to “Lawnderry”.)
I tend to preach about discerning God’s will for each of us in our lives, and generally that is my code for Vocation. It’s an overused word for clergy, in that within church it tends to have a phrase assumed – Vocation [to the Priesthood]. If you are churchy, dear reader, and I ask you if you have found your vocation, you may think I am inviting you to share a life of plastic collars, tea, quiche, and of general wondrousness. But it is not so. Rather, I am asking if you have found what makes your heart sing, what makes you leap out of bed eagerly? Of course, my own vocation doesn’t always achieve that, if I am tired or ill then I am as grumpy as the next slave. But if I am rested, well, and ready to face the world, then even this morning-averse cleric can be quite chirpy.
I am grateful to those whose vocation lies in domesticity. Those who cook, clean, look after others and their homes, offices etc. Because you all make my world a far lovelier place, and also enable me to follow Christ, wherever He may lead me. Location, vocation, and the occasional vacation. That’ll do me!