I’ve moved so many times I don’t even know where to start. When I was just a few months old my family moved to Germany and since then every year or so meant people came to put our things into boxes and transport them near or far. We’d do a purge of things we hadn’t used since the last time we moved before the movers came and then hope that nothing was broken or damaged when it arrived. Moving always meant leaving behind friends and our comfort zone for foreign places and people. Eventually we’d get settled into a new comfort zone just to leave it behind for another.
As an adult I continued the tradition, transferring to a new college my junior year when my dad was stationed to a new post, taking a job in a new state after graduation, then marrying a man who decided to answer the call of the military.
But moving was different as an adult than as a child, even if it was the Army still calling the shots. As a child I had no say what house we lived in or how our furniture was set up. I was only responsible for my room and my toys and my clothes. As an adult, the entire house was my room and my toys and my clothes. Or rather, our room, toys, and clothes. I had to set up house not only for myself, but my husband as well. I had become a homemaker. That was a crazy transition, and one I did not make gracefully I’m ashamed to admit.
It’s also a role that has become even more difficult now that I have kids, a smart phone, and social media. Moving has changed. It isn’t just set up the house, get rid of the boxes, and find the new comfort zone. Moving onto this new community where I know no one and finding my place isn’t quite so easy as it was in the Army, I find myself clinging to the online friendships I’ve made and the groups where I have found so much support. My comfort zone had travelled with me. However, this has left me neglecting my duties to my family and setting up the house and getting rid of boxes doesn’t feel as urgent as it would otherwise.
Once I was on a retreat and I had a private conversation with the priest who was our speaker for the weekend. I don’t remember quite what I said about being a housewife but it wasn’t very positive. I’ll never forget the way he responded, the way he said, “You’re a housewife” with such joy and admiration in his voice and face as if it were the greatest vocation anyone could have. Later that weekend someone offered the term “homemaker” and again stressed the importance of this role in the family, in the military, in society. It completely challenged the way I viewed this life.
I sometimes forget that weekend and the profound ways in which it challenged me, turning instead to social media and the people I’ve never met in real life, that comfort zone in my pocket. But then something will happen to remind me of who I am – a daughter of the King, His beloved, chosen to be Captain’s wife and the mother of Sweet Boy and Angel Face, their Homemaker. Sure, eventually I will find other titles and tasks to fill my days and I will find my place here where God has led us, but my first obligation will always be to my vocation. And that is the vocation of Homemaker.