The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career. – CS Lewis
Following on from my CS Lewis theme yesterday, I found the above quote that seemed a pretty cool one for Mothers’ Day, but I wondered where it was from in his writing. A further search found that others had done the required investigation and it is in fact adapted from something he wrote in a ‘letter to Mrs Ashton’ in 1955:
“I think I can understand that feeling about a housewife’s work being like that of Sisyphus (who was the stone rolling gentleman). But it is surely in reality the most important work in the world. What do ships, railways, miners, cars, government etc exist for except that people may be fed, warmed, and safe in their own homes? As Dr. Johnson said, “To be happy at home is the end of all human endeavour”. (1st to be happy to prepare for being happy in our own real home hereafter: 2nd in the meantime to be happy in our houses.) 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…” (pg 447-Letters of CS Lewis 1988 ed.)
On initial reading the first quote gives a great encouragement to stay-at-home-Mums, and I do agree. When everything is put into perspective, what else is more valuable than raising the next generation? On reading the excerpt of the letter, what he is saying is far more. I don’t think Lewis is saying that homemaking is the ‘ultimate’ in terms of the best and most fabulous job, more that it is fundamental to society. It is about the goal and purpose of all our work. Work is not an end in itself, but done so that we can have a roof over our heads and food to eat, so that we can enable others to be safe and able to get on with making a home. It may seem obvious, but in this lop-sided world we live in for many work has become the end goal, and self-serving ambition an admirable quality.
Be encouraged stay-at-home-Mums, stay-at-home-Dads, working Mums and working Dads. It is worthwhile.
I am thankful that I can spend this Mothers’ Day with my family and each of my children.
So many others can’t.
I think of all the mothers of the kidnapped Nigerian girls, still hoping for their children to be rescued and returned to them.
I think of every mother who has lost a child to human trafficking, not knowing if they will they ever see them again.
I think of girls who are slaves and have become mothers in captivity, who long for a rescue, safety and a loving home.
I think of mothers who do not have the means to feed and protect their children, and lose them to starvation.
Surely, the goal of our efforts is to provide for others – our families, our communities and beyond. As Lewis says, what is the point of all the careers in the world if not to make sure others are ‘warm, safe and fed.’