I do “music time” in the Relief Society (women’s organization) at my church. Twice a month I come up with a tiny little 2-minute music lesson after which we usually sing a song that relates (sometimes the lesson is about the actual song). This last Sunday I chose the hymn Love at Home by John McNaughton.
McNaughton lived during the civil war and wrote Union songs. When I was listening online to the history of this hymn, it was described how in those days women had great pride in their homes. They would cook and clean all day, and in the evenings, during their “leisure” time, they would usually knit or do some other thing that was still essentially productive. A year ago, I could never have imagined doing so much work. Now, I am beginning to get a sense of it, as I cook everything from scratch, and lately have been trying to get my house clean as well. I feel like I’m going to collapse at the end of the day.
As I listened to the words of this hymn and thought of women, especially mothers, lovingly working so hard for their families, and the joy all their efforts bring into the home, tears came to my eyes. The song is idealistic, but it’s words ring true–when there is love–when we speak with love, when we act with love, when we feel love for the members of our family–the result is often one of joy.
The words in this song describe my dream home–the kind I want to create. It’s been so hard with having low energy and mood swings for so long, and even now that I’m getting better I’m not 100%. My house has never once been completely clean (not even close) in the three years we’ve lived here. I get irritated on a daily basis. But I’m getting stronger. I’m getting more and more emotionally stable and learning how to manage my emotions that still need reigning in. I’m learning to put aside the distractions that filled my time when I was constantly exhausted and overwhelmed, and trying to save them for smaller “rest” periods when I need them.
After listening to this hymn, I felt inspired to make this poster of it–just a little 8.5×11″–to hang on my wall and remind me of the kind of home I desire. One in which the house is clean (which helps us all feel good and calm), one in which meals are ready at relatively predictable times (so we aren’t cranky from hunger), one in which I involve my child in chores, where we can work side by side (instead of my boy watching TV while I do everything), one in which I greet my husband with love when he returns home from a hard and stressful day at work, and one in which I am more patient with my sweet little hair-raiser.
This once-out-of-my-grasp dream feels like it’s becoming possible. I don’t mean that we could be this perfect little happy family all the time, but more of the time, maybe even most of the time. It’s a goal. It’s something to work towards. I think this sweet little song about love in the home will help remind me to make progress.
Today was Valentine’s Day. Due to a late breakfast, my son and I exchanged some not-so-pleasant emotions with each other early in the morning, but once I got my act together, I spent the day focused on being extra loving and having the house all nice for my family. It was a wonderful day!