Most of you know that Jimmy and I are Catholic. It’s wonderfully convenient to share my life with someone who shares the faith in which I was raised. I’d love to say, that at the tender age of 21, marrying a Catholic was high on my list of priorities, but that would be a lie. I’m not sure exactly what qualities I thought the ideal mate required, but hair that “feathered” perfectly, and above-average intelligence must’ve been #s 1 and 2. I don’t remember any other requirements, but surely there were some…The good news is that, I went to high school and college in Baton Rouge Louisiana, (French Canadian Country), where you couldn’t throw a rock and not hit a Catholic, so that part worked out without a sliver of wisdom on my part.
After we were married, we were transferred around in an area that is commonly referred to as The Bible Belt. When we moved to Oklahoma, (arguably the very buckle of said belt) I wanted to socialize with my neighbors – “The Protestants”.
Now – “The Protestants” all supplemented their Sunday morning Sabbath obligations with something called Weekly Bible Study. I was confused as to why anyone would voluntarily pursue church-related activities on a weekday, but all my new friends attended, they served Coffee, Banana Bread and they offered a Nursery. They had me at “refreshments” and “child-care”.
One of the very first Bible Studies I enrolled in, was a study on Marriage. At this point, Jimmy and I had been married about 7 years. We were groovin along pretty well, yet, this was the very first time I had ever been exposed to some of the basic biblical principles, of all Christian faiths, regarding marriage. As an Old-School Cradle Catholic, Jimmy was somewhat dubious about, what he referred to as, “the whole bible study thing,” but, when I began to share with him what I was learning, he couldn’t jump aboard fast enough! They had Jimmy at “Submission”…
My, how he supported this new chapter in my spiritual development! His personal favorite, was when I studied The Proverbs 31 Woman. Proverbs 31 is the part of Scripture that describes the PERFECT WOMAN in the Eyes of God (and also Jimmy) If you haven’t had a chance to do a bible study on Proverbs 31, at least peruse this chapter, on your own, for inspiration. This woman is nothing short of amazing. She is described as, “working vigorously” to “feed and clothe her family and servants.” She is “respected at the city gates” and her “lamp does not go out at night”. Her “worth is greater than rubies and pearls” and she, “does her husband good all the days of his life!”
Who wouldn’t love this woman? According to The Word, she “eats not of the bread of idleness.” (Banana Bread = okay) She is awake weaving cloth, long after her servants, husband and kids are fast asleep, and then awakens before the entire household at dawn. She is organized, industrious and capable; definitely setting the bar high for the rest of us gals. If you couldn’t actually BE this woman, it would be great to at least be her next-door neighbor…
As it so happened, the very period of my life that I was learning about these biblical principles, coincided with the years that I was home with my first two small children. This is when another thought simultaneously started creeping across the horizon of my awareness. I started to observe that, from pregnancy, all the way through the late toddler years, Mothers seemed to receive a “Get Out Of Jail Free Card” on just about everything!! I remember the phrase, “bless your heart” was directed towards me on a daily basis during those years. And I kinda liked it! It was as though people simply expected me to be overwhelmed, tardy, disheveled and disorganized. It was as though the bar was so low, I could trip on it. I started to conclude, that, while I had been habitually screwing-up any manner of things my entire life, people were suddenly indulgent and sympathetic, because they assumed small children had derailed my better efforts.
That’s when a plan started to emerge – It was imperative that I prolong this undeserved mercy for as long as humanly possible; I needed to drag out the baby/toddler years.
And – the only way I could imagine to do this, was to keep having children! It’s probably time to admit, that somewhere deep, deep, deep in my subconscious, having 3 more children, actually seemed less daunting to me, than striving to be a better person.
It goes without saying that, after a while, my biological clock was destined to catch up with my plan, as my eggs and children got older. Lamentably, some of my kids have done really grown-up, self-sufficient things – like sleeping through the night, driving cars and going to college, making it harder and harder to get a hall pass these days. It’s time to emulate the Proverbs 31 woman.
As the dutiful spouse, Jimmy certainly does his part to help and encourage my personal evolvement, by constantly pointing out that I could play less tennis, do more laundry, make dinner more often and concentrate more effort into doing him well all the days of his life. The only problem, is that, with the exception of the part where she weaves cloth for her husband’s clothing (he doesn’t seem keen on me doing that), Jimmy favors a pretty literal interpretation of this particular scripture – while my feeling, is that this scripture was written over 2000 years ago and is meant as more of a “General Guideline,” for today’s modern wives and mothers.
With that said, however, I might be persuaded to meet Jimmy half-way to a more literal interpretation, were he to agree to provide me with the SERVANTS that are mentioned in this Proverb.
I’m just now realizing that lack of servants has, more than likely, been my problem all these years..I really could have amazed and astonished, if only I’d had even a couple of servants.
Bless My Heart!