Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Repository of Work

Recently I was considering a Renaissance artist with the family and we spoke about his repository of work.  We pondered which of his masterpieces he would consider worthy of our focus and which pieces he would consider "not his best work."  As we conversed, the realization slowly dawned on me that this fine artist, has no posthumous control over what we saw as his life's work.

This left me pondering my own "repository of work."  I've held a good many jobs, many of them "people oriented."  I produced some fine documents, set many appointments, and served up some platters full of good food back at the Country Kitchen in the 70s.  None of those things will survive me.  I also ministered to hundreds of children (sometimes less gracefully than at other times), enrolled a lot of people into WOW, and coached some fine souls. These days, of course, my repository of work consists of a few blogs about a busy but simple life in a graceful but typical subdivision, and many hours of dishes, laundry, homeschooling, and story reading.

My repository of work, both in the past and now, consists mainly in the hearts and minds of people whose lives I have been so honored to encounter.  It's a largely invisible and apparently abtruse body of work.  Therein lies the battlefield.

We live in an achievement-based culture.  In my rare forays into all-adult settings, I'm asked over and over, "Where do you work?"  After responding with an occasional lack of clarity that I work at home caring for my family, I am quite frequently asked, "Well, what did you do before that?"  Ironically, those answers are often equally disappointing for my poor inquirer who is seeking to appreciate me through what I have achieved.

I know there are mothers who feel undervalued.  That is not the case with me.  I see the value of what I do, so I do not (typically) get "up in arms" when others don't get it.  It's just so very hard to explain in the few words most are seeking.
I have been trying out a few things lately to describe my body of work.  "I challenge people to live life brightly and support them on their journey."  It sounds too airy and high-falutin' doesn't it?  (I think I've been reading too many marketing books!) So I've switched to my original answer and after I give it rather than wait for the next question, I pat them on the shoulder or give them a kiss on the cheek -- a situational decision, obviously -- and beat a hasty retreat.

"I'm a house-wife.  I stay home and love my family."

That is my repository of work.  It sits just right.