Swirling thoughts threaten my joy. Burnout: groceries, again; cooking, again; backpacks, again; that minivan with doors that slide: forward, back; forward, back; forward, back; again. Our arguments and disagreements Our schedule and activities Our schools, house, and church Our date nights and sex life Our money and chore system Our guests and hospitality Our bad habits and broken interactions Our laundry and scents Our sleep and dreams January—always winter, but never Christmas.1 Pandemic faces—eyes without mouths. Days without smiles; and then again. Drudgery is about to kill me. Monotony makes me want to nap. Same-ole, same-old settles over. Our time in the car and our outpost of Heaven Our mission and the homeless man who lives outside our back gate Our unity and forgiveness Our vacations and discretionary income Our free time and mealtimes Our sports and movement Our care for the dog and for the yard Our neighbors and placement in Memphis Our baths and our clothes Our monologues and lamentations Our health and well-being Our rhythms and habits C.S. Lewis said, “I think I can understand that feeling about a [homemaker]’s work being like that of Sisyphus (who was the stone rolling gentleman). But it is surely, in reality, the most important work in the world. What do ships, railways, mines, cars, government etc. exist for except that people may be fed, warm, and safe in their own homes? As Dr Johnson said, ‘To be happy at home is the end of all human endeavour’…We wage war in order to have peace, we work in order to have leisure, we produce food in order to eat it. So your job is the one for which all others exist.” From the depths of my soul: redeem it all. Buy it back and make it new. Paint color into the monochrome. Let me see the smiles again; let me hear the laughter ring; Let me taste the food. Redeem our home. What even is a home? What is worth redemption? Our music and movies Our screen time and laughter Our entertainment and POV’s Our sickness and health Our relationship with the plot of earth we’ve been given and our care for it Our consumeristic attitudes and Amazon account Our spiritual lives and awareness of them Our affections and dislikes, Our food and our table Our conversations and our tears Our bodies and their care Our books and reading Our family history and genetic makeup Our personalities and the way they interact with each other Our liturgies and patterns Our nourishment and delights Our souls and our spirits Our love for God and his love for us Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. ~from Psalm 103 Our goings and comings Our wealth and our poverty Our drinks and desserts Our babies and our grandparents Our peace and our angst Our wisdom and foolishness Our memories and future Our air and water Our light and Truth Our celebration and grief Our treasures and trash Our beauty and design Our mirth and festivities Our filth and our response to it Our stuff and the discernment about what to do with it Our words spoken and withheld Our discipline and permissiveness Our waking and sleeping Our better and worse Our living and dying. 1 Lewis, C.S., The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. HarperCollins; Abridged edition (August 14, 2007)
Candace Echols is a Midtown resident, wife, and mother of five. She has written for StoryBoard’s Page One Writing Workshops, and writes in quiet moments from her yellow chair. Candace recently published her first book, the children’s book Josephine and the Quarantine.