Keeping Place by Jen Pollock Michel

I often struggle to find the significance within the repetitive tasks that haunt and taunt my days.

When your family of 6 resides in a home-base that is school-base and work-base as well, a clean house is an ever-elusive achievement.

Quite simply, there is no escape from a kitchen that boomerangs back to a state of chaos a mere 5 seconds after it has been scoured, carpet that mysteriously boasts of new dirt as soon as it has escaped the suctioned grip of a vacuum, and windows and mirrors that seem to be factory-embedded with fingerprints.

So on one hand is the guilt of the perpetually undone tasks of home. But on the other hand is another type of contorted guilt: Time has established a rhetoric that to excel is to rise above the menial, repetitive tasks associated with servitude and minimum wage. The way to escape what is “beneath us” is to abandon it as meaningless.

This distortion, therefore, has been known to conjure guilt because of the implications that I am cooking and cleaning for my own benefit instead of selflessly spending my time being a “world-changer”. Feeding my children is one thing. But taking time to properly nourish myself is another thing entirely.

This helps:

“The liturgies of housework and practices like daily prayer ground us in a proper estimation of ourselves – we are creatures, not the Creator. Our quotidian routines return us to our bodies of dust, forging humility on the anvil of repetitive motion. We can’t abandon the housekeeping, either the laundry or the liturgy, because it is one constraining element for human flourishing.” (Jen Pollock Michel, Keeping Place, p. 115)

Also this:

“We deceive ourselves in wishing to be free to enjoy our blessings apart from the banality of our obligations…it is sin to reach for fruit without consideration of cost. And housekeeping is about cost – the cost of following a homemaking God, who bids us to make a home for others in this world.” (ibid p. 117)


As humans, we need grounding. No, my house is never going to look perfect. But keeping house is a tangible daily reminder that we are creations of a homemaking God who not only made a home for us but who also came to dwell in and restore order to that home. The never-ending rhythms of home are a grace that allow us to remember that taming chaos with order is part of what it means to be created in His image.

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