Photo by Jan Canty on Unsplash

January: A Poem

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


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