I reread Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and was halted by a wisdom-packed conversation between dutiful brave Aragorn and glory-hungry complaining Lady Eowyn. So I chalked a fraction of it on my kitchen wall. Aragorn’s advice is not just applicable to a shieldmaiden itching for battle, but also to a woman at home doing quiet chores, making unseen beds, changing another diaper and combing out more tangles or scrubbing the kitchen counter (again) at 9:30pm.
For a long time I so highly held fighting for social justice that I near-resented the needs of my family that consumed so much of my time. Thankfully God corrected me. I find small ways to fight here and there, but the work he has given me here in these four walls is good and important and mine.
I’ll splice and paste part of the characters’ conversation here:
Eowyn cried, “Too often have I heard of duty… May I now spend my life as I will?”
“Few may do that with honour,” answered Aragorn. “But as for you, lady, did you not accept the charge to govern the people until their Lord’s return?”
Eowyn sighed, “…Shall I always be left behind… to mind the house while they win renown, and find food and beds when they return?”
And Aragorn replied, “…the deeds will not be less valiant because they were unpraised.”
I see now that motherhood and hospitality is a great and honorable calling. I can, as Goethe said, “cease endlessly striving for what I want to do and learn to love what must be done.” Maybe in a later season of life, as with Eowyn (if you know her story), I will work in other ways and places. Always both shall be for God’s glory not mine (Colossians 3:23).