I'm learning much this week from a published lecture by Kathleen Norris titled The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and "Women's Work". Taste and see:
I sense that striving for wholeness is, increasingly, a countercultural goal, as fragmented people make for better consumers, buying more bits and pieces--two or more cars, two homes and all that fills them--and outfitting one's body for a wide variety of identities: business person, homebody, amateur athlete, traveler, theater or sports fan. Things exercise a certain tyranny over us. Whenever I am checking bags at an airport, I recall St. Teresa of Avila's wonderful prayer of praise, "Thank God for the things that I do not own." Things are truly baggage, our impedimenta, which must be maintained with work that is menial, steady and recurring. But, like liturgy, the work of cleaning draws much of its meaning and value from repetition, from the fact that it is never completed, but only set aside until the next day. Both liturgy and what is euphemistically termed "domestic" work also have an intense relation with the present moment, a kind of faith in the present that fosters hope and makes life seem possible in the day-to-day.