Once I knew–I had the epiphany–what was truly important to me, the thing that I would seek above all else, give over everything, or learn to through stages, the pearl of great price. “This is it,” I thought.
But I woke up this morning, and couldn’t remember what it was. This wasn’t the first time I forgot my purpose n life. So, I thought, I’ll clean up this mess–the floor is gritty, and after that I’ll do that accumulated list of little things. Just to clear away the distractions. Maybe organize that desk, fix the rattling keyboard drawer, and tape up that box to go back to the trampoline parts store. How can I even think about deep stuff like that when my physical space is so out of feng shui?
But I look at the mess–sneakers, electric sander, dog dish, horse blanket, all jumbled up on the floor, laundry in piles to be washed, sorted, and I don’t care about any of that either, whether it’s temporarily tidy or not, whether I can ever live in that rarefied level of spotlessness housewifehood. “it was a simple home, but spotless, with starched cotton curtains she had made from salvaged flour sacks.” House work is only as a means, like I said, to get to a place of more clarity. Despite my trying to believe that somewhere therein was, à la Brother Lawrence–sanctification. The quotidian mysteries. I am open to that possibility, but am essentially agnostic there.
Which raises the question, why all this indoor living, if it’s not, as promised, helping us live a more intellectual, a more spiritual life by protecting us from the raging elements and wild beasts and providing effort-reducing technologies? A life of the higher realms of consciousness that transforms the human race, lifts it above a life of subsistence and survival of the fittest to pass on genetic material, and drives Progress? I say, the walls and roof might have been a good idea, for the domicile as well as the monastery, and the dishwasher and fridge were great idea, but the problem is the floor, which needs to be swept, and cupboards and shelves–basically anything with a finished horizontal surface–which accumulate both possessions and dust.
There is also the problem that we’ve got away from the idea of having a virtual slave class to keep these things in order while we upper classes create culture. Or a hierarchy where the novitiate labors and aspires to rise, so someone always gets the housework done, and even sees it as a necessary if primitive aspect of one’s education. Now there’s the housework, and everyone is expected to pitch in like a good egalitarian, but somehow these duties still fall unevenly, unless a lot of extra higher consciousness is applied there, and wasn’t that what we were trying to avoid in the first place?
Which might be an argument for mail order wives (or husbands). That is, why not keep a stock of folks on some underprivileged archipelago or subarctic clime who simply aim to please. Not a companionship of the intellect, but of one with the brain and the leisure (and the extra cash), the other with the brawn and a submissive spirit, so lovely in the eyes of the lord (or lady). It has been done with satisfactory results, I am told. Sometimes even locals can be trained in that submissive spirit, so genetic cross fertilization is not always necessary. Well, if they’re happy that way, why not?
Clarity indeed. What is it that I need clarity in order to seek, something to which I have inherited an addiction along with this infernal self consciousness. that hasn’t been made necessary by the very fact that I’ve moved indoors, out of the Garden. That was such a happy place, where everyone did the housework. At least I think they did–I can’t remember. Whatever they did, they didn’t angst about it, and I think they would have been free to grow up in a more natural way into the knowledge of good and evil, without the need for dishwashers and a slave class.
You reminded me of the pearl, with your talk of giving it all, and the euphoria, the falling to your knees, the prayers of thanks. And I remembered feeling that way–tears come even now–though it didn’t seem to come through so much will power, and drive, and all-out effort through personal suffering. You might say that what you have been given, even so, is in the realm of grace. In fact I’m pretty sure you would. But the self denial, the pressing on through pain and self doubt, that requires more bravery than I feel capable of. Or that is even called for in my circumstances. Unless, unless…