Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Balancing Two Worlds

As mentioned previously, I spent last week solidly at home, in an effort to get some important things done that there is no time for otherwise. There was a to-do list a mile long that was carefully chipped away at, until all that could be done was complete, and the rest was rained out. It was a joy to walk among the foliage at the nearby park, have supper with the Mister every night (who also stayed home to work on our house) and not have to worry about being anywhere at an appointed time. And yet, it was a fully productive week that provided much rest and did wonders for my chronic neck pain.

It often feels like I live two separate and incongruous lives. There is my primary life as wife and homemaker. It's the one most of my readers probably have a more complete picture of in their mind. Yes, that's me picking beans, taking something out of the oven, and pressing a shirt. It's writing letters to friends, Bible study group, visiting family, planning supper, and canning a season. It's my "real" life. The life where the needs of my loved ones matter even more than my own, and the seasons dictate the activities. But then there is a sizable part of my week that looks very different. It's the part where I fill my commuter mug with hot coffee and drive a lengthy spell to the library where I become part of a second family of lovely cohorts who unite for a day's labor amid the book stacks and computers. We diverse women from different places, in between answering phones and conducting research, discuss what matters most: Our struggles, our families, our friends, our histories, and our achievements no matter how minor. It's real community, the kind where we need each other because nothing in a professional career is ever a solo achievement. It's the community I dream of leaving some day for horizons anew, and yet the same one that makes me wonder what would I ever do without these smart, talented women that have become friends? The stories we share, all while serving the public, are better stories than the most well-crafted novel on the shelves around us. Our personalities and experiences, far better than any movie. It's real, living non-fiction. But it's not the life that speaks to my heart. My heart for all of its curious wanderings always comes home.

The warm drink by the wood stove, dogs underfoot, thoughts of domestic bliss- this is the world I prefer. It is the life that quenches my thirst for real achievement. A well-planned garden or newly sewn dress provides more satisfaction for me than a tough question answered. At least, it always seems that way until some opportunity to have a paper published or speak at a conference emerges, and then my academic lion swallows my domestic lamb whole. But those achievements come and go, they are short lived, and relegated to archives. At the end of the day, the most fulfillment will always come from serving those within the world that I call home.

For now, I settle for the balance that my two worlds give, in all their imperfect disharmony.

In the Kitchen: The pumpkin finally emerged from the pantry last week to make a winter favorite- pumpkin pancakes. They were such a delicious treat that it was hard not to consider them as dessert. Once in a while, since my Mister doesn't eat breakfast and I rarely have more than a cup of yogurt in the morning, I like to make a big breakfast meal for supper. Mom used to do this also, and as a child it felt like such a novelty to have eggs and bacon for an early evening meal. I could never eat a big breakfast first thing in the morning anyway, but it sure does make a hearty meal in cold weather.

Around the Home: Patchy bits of frost are on the ground in the morning, making me think of all the work that will take place next month when I clear out our gardens. Feeling grateful for all I was able to preserve for the winter.

3 comments:

  1. Your post struck a real chord with me, I too love my garden, cooking, crafting and sewing. I am also a professinal and get a real buzz from that. I guess we are lucky that we get to do both!

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  2. Nice post! I am not a breakfast person myself while my hubby is. We often have breakfast for lunch or supper. I can stay happily here in my little home for days on end and not leave. I never once liked working outside the home and am so happy to not have to work now except right here. But we are all different and that is wonderful! Huggles

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  3. I really enjoyed your thoughts today.

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