We never expected to see these sights.
My eyes hurt looking at images from the other side of the world. If this is the pain of the image, what is the pain of the reality? At the beginning of the year, my eyes were thirsty for glory. Is it a hopeless enterprise? There is no glory in war, in homes destroyed, in millions of women and children uprooted, desperately seeking safety.
I look around my own home – a little scruffy, with last night’s dishes undone, but it is peaceful. We are all still here, and bread still rises on the stovetop.
This morning I read C. S. Lewis’ words to a Mrs. Johnson, speaking to the oft-bemoaned task of homemaking:
“But it is surely, in reality, the most important work in the world. What do ships, railways, mines, cars, governments etc exist for except that people may be fed, warmed, and safe in their own homes? … We wage war in order to have peace, we work in order to have leisure, we produce food in order to eat it. So your job is the one for which all others exist.”
The security of home is one of the deepest needs we have. Its protection and nurture is a worthy calling. Home should be a place of sanctuary. It is the heart of humanity.
Today, I sit in the semi-quiet of an ordinary Saturday morning, surrounded by the familiarity of my people and and my place. Too often I have viewed this as burdensome. Now this mundane yet intimate beauty radiates a glory I can hardly bear to receive. I give thanks for all this in a rather bewildered way.
The contrast between what I see here, and what I have seen there is jarring. But when I have seen enough of destruction and desperation (and it doesn’t take long), there are other images I keep coming back to.
A friend in Moldova, Ukraine’s tiny neighbour, whose family and ministry are knee-deep, heart-deep, in this refugee crisis, opening doors to as many women and children as they can hold.
A family in the city of Kherson, who, after emerging from their root cellar bomb shelter, open their apartment to hungry neighbours, crowding around the little kitchen table with food and music.
It is there I see it – homemaking of a different sort. The kind of hospitality that is willing to renovate all it knows to make a place of refuge for another. They are making homes in the midst of war, building structures of hope with their bread and bunkbeds and tears and prayers. Home is created wherever they gift themselves from a foundation of love.
It is love-sprung tears that begin to wash the ache from my eyes.
For the deepest glory of all comes in the revelation of love. Love that keeps making a corridor through death, keeps laying itself down for the brokenhearted, keeps breaking its own heart open to make a home for the other.
Didn’t Jesus do this for us? Didn’t he show us this way? Look, it is still there. And wherever we walk it, we are at home with Him (John 14:23).
So I will tuck my own children in with a weighted gratitude tonight, whisper intercessions while washing dishes. Tuck what I can into the hands of those helping. Give thanks for my own work, and the work of homemakers everywhere, knowing God dwells among us even now.
Feeling helpless in all this? Find someone who is homemaking in war, forging paths of love:
You can give to the refugee work in Moldova here.
Or join my own small contribution here.
Related Post: Midnight Prayer: Where Do Syrian Children Sleep?
Thank you Lindsey.
Oh yes, Lindsey. How dare I fuss about any of the irritating trifles in my life! I pray for the Ukranian people, for God’s miraculous power to be at work–protecting, providing, engineering circumstances on their behalf. May his glory be on display even in the midst of war; may people see and believe in his Son for their eternal salvation.
Praying along with you, Nancy.