Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Clocks and Candles

"Life is so unnerving, for the servant who's not serving."

Spoken by Lumiere the candlestick to Cogsworth, the clock.
Beauty and the Beast

In stealth mode, joy sneaks up on me unawares.   Its quiet fullness overtakes me as, for a few days,  I abandon the screeching demands of time.  Old Cogsworth the clock, from Disney's movie, Beauty and the Beast, is always in a tizzy, so anxious about doing and being . . . no mercy. . . typical of my life when I let the clock control me.  Wound up too tightly with anxieties, my insides burst, never at rest.  

By contrast, Lumiere, the candlestick, serves with great flourish and flare. He is in his element, doing what he was made to do. . . provide elegance and relaxation to the dining experience.  I have reserved two days a week to relish in tranquility.  Oh, I do not sit and stare at a candle.  No, I nurture my family.  I serve within the element for which I was made, creating a home from a house, a family from individuals. . . an oasis from the clock.  

The sheer delight on my daughters' faces is worth the bent over back as I sit at the sewing machine, creating a quilt for each of them, custom made. Carefree butterflies for Summer, and winsome kites for Ivy.  Their anticipation for its completion is rivaled by their involvement in the process. . . choosing buttons, rick rack, and fluffy pom poms, arranging the squares of fabric just how they like it.  Joy settles in.  

As I clean various rooms of the house, the family gravitates to these rooms like magnets, the invitation to serenity and rest irresistible.  Laughter and energy abound.  Book worms, gymnasts, and artists alike find the room perfect for their endeavors.  Joy ventures in.

The smells permeating from the oven bring promise of comfort.. . food to nourish the body and the soul.   The table neatly set, speaks to each member in the family of their belonging, each having their own place.  But one spot is empty.  A reminder that one of us is missing, away at college.  Heads bow. A simple prayer is said.

On the days I succumb to the demands of the clock, homemaking gets pushed aside.  No dinner awaits, the house is in disarray, laundry builds. . . no quilts.  Joy is shy in nature and easily frightened into a tight little corner of my life.  I do not realize what a blessing is this thing called homemaking until life gets busy--an ugly rat race. It is then I long to retreat to what I was made for--creating pockets of comfort and beauty in the day. . . nurturing. 

I am part of another family, the body of Christ, otherwise known as the church.  In this family I also have a place, a role to fulfill.  I've been given a gift to contribute to the building up of this family.  The gift is the Holy Spirit.  He shines His light through me to nurture the lives of others in the Word of God. He enables me to flourish in my element, bringing joy to my heart . . . much like the candle.  

Oh, there are clocks ticking here, but I choose not to serve them.  Clocks of people pleasing and worry.  Clocks of deadlines which threaten to steal the place of prayer and worship.  When I rush about in a tizzy, seeking to serve of my own strength, I only end up in high strung pieces.  No, in quietness and confidence is my strength. . . the joy of the Lord settles in, quite at home.  

Clocks or candles.  Which will it be today?


  1. For those who couldn't comment, you should be able to now. Click on the blue words with the number of comments and choose Name/URL and enter your name in the Comment as section.

    Great post Mom, sorry it took so long to get comments working.

  2. what a wonderful post! I, too often, am a Cogsworth! But I long to be Lumiere ... where "joy ventures in". Thanks for the reminder of the beauty of homemaking! I've often thought of it as haven making ... and this essay drives this home for me!