Loving Our Homes
“Oh Lizzie, it’s such a pleasure to run my own home!” My favorite line from Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice film is delivered with joyful zeal by Mrs. Charlotte Collins. A new bride in 2008, I was dripping with Charlotte’s same joy. I put flowers on the mantle, made everything from scratch and spaced towels evenly in the closet. Our tiny apartment had its quirks, but I was determined to make it a charming home.
Fifteen years later, that enthusiasm needs a little fanning. Our 1940s house is sweet and small. Though it’s sure to feel smaller as the children grow, I’m determined to live out the rest of my days here. Because of its modest size and high population density, the whole place can be destroyed in no time. The pressure I feel to have a clean house right this minute is mighty enough to compel every man and beast to roll up his sleeves. When I see only the mess, I know my perception is off; reality is distorted and my typical joy is non-existent. So, I made a list for myself so I see broader than the momentary struggles, and thus find my misplaced joy.
Look beyond the kitchen crying out for renovation and see the place where you feed your family. The worn floors are evidence of lively toes. Your home doesn’t have to sparkle to reveal its sweet features.
Take a cue from St. Josemaria Escriva to up your gratitude: “Get used to lifting your heart to God, in acts of thanksgiving… Because he gives you this and that. Because you haven’t what you need or because you have. Thank him for everything…”
Thank God for your home by making a list of what you love about it, from functions to features. Ask your family what they like, too! Every house comes with a “to do list,” but so few have a “What I Love About You” list. Ingratitude blinds us to reality; it leads me to believe there isn’t much in my house to be happy about, but cultivating thanksgiving within myself opens my eyes to the Father’s abundant grace. Living in thankfulness, we might finally see that the challenges in our homes are lesser when compared to their more significant blessings.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
It’s a peaceful experience to be in any home that feels tidy. Without clutter, I feel like I can breathe and truly relax in any room. Consider the cluttered areas that drive you crazy—what if they weren’t there silently screaming at you? What if you kept only the clothes, books, toys and decorations that have meaning or use instead of collecting things to fill spaces? Visualize your home cleared of excess. With this image in mind, approach your house knowing the end goal is joyful living.
I’ve long reveled in simplicity and minimalism from a Catholic approach. Keeping what we need to carry out God’s call for our particular lives and cutting distractions yield a freedom I didn’t anticipate. Now, every year I methodically go through each room and rid them of the unnecessary. The best part is when I find rooms made new that beckon me to sit and remain.
KNOW THE HOLY PURPOSE OF YOUR HOME
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Josh. 24:15)
Hospitality is a gift that comes from the heart, not only clean corners and shelves. With humble appreciation and simplicity, I’m eager to make my home a blessing to both guests and the souls who live here. Conversely, when I feel burdened by our house—blinded by ingratitude and buried under extra stuff— I’m anxious about others just stopping by.
For the family, a home is a blessing from the Lord and we can delight in it more freely when it’s received and treated with gratitude. Mrs. Charlotte Collins was giddy serving tea to Lizzie Bennet simply because her space was her own. As for me, I’ll be doing my best to live in gratitude, working toward hospitality to serve our Lord—returning to Him the gift He bestowed on an occasionally ungrateful heart.
Katie Sciba is a national speaker and Catholic Press Award- winning columnist. Katie has been married for 14 years and is blessed with six children.
This article appeared in the January 2023 edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here.