Take Care

I set aside yesterday for taking care of some items that needed TLC. I put leather balm on all of my shoes and boots, fixed a hem on a dress, handwashed two wool sweaters, and did my sock mending.

You’ll see all of the years of different mends in the different colors 🙂

It had me musing about how as a society, we don’t take care. It seems silly to complain about how no one polishes their shoes anymore when I see what happens with abandoned children and animals. How people approach their work (including the work they do in the home and for themselves). You might say these things have always been a problem, but do they not seem worse these days to you? Taking care has been replaced with the fast, the effortless, the easy. Am I the only person who feels complete astonishment on seeing that there is a television show called Semi-Homemade Cooking that uses things like refrigerated cookie dough to have a “semi-homemade bake sale.” (!!!) Can we have a world full of beauty, depth, and integrity this way? I don’t think so.

I then realized that yes, I can rail against people not polishing their shoes anymore. Putting effort into things such as mending your socks instead of throwing them away for new ones is not only an attempt at saving resources, but a metaphor for a way of life. One that includes lavishing your time and attention on what you’ve chosen to bring into your world. It’s another way of thinking about responsibility. I’ve been mulling over this issue lots lately, as I continue to explore the effortful, the difficult, and the slow. I’m so disheartened that these are not positive attributes in our culture.

They next time someone backward-complements a hand knit or loaf of homemade bread with, “Didn’t that take forEVER?” I am going to say, “Yes, it did. And I enjoyed every minute of it.”

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3 comments

  1. You know, as much as I like the benefits of all this technology, I actually delight in being completely unplugged a few evenings a month to be able to devote to this simple chores of maintaining what we have. There is something to be said about just having the wireless (the original one aka radio) as diversion so you focus on these jobs.

    I fully apprecate your response to the backhanded compliments! When I hear “It’s okay for you to knit your own clothes, bake your own bread, grow your own veg…, I just don’t have time for that!”, I am increasingly replying with: “I make the time as these are priorities for me as well as a political act”! Maybe it is age but I have stopped diminishing my choices and actions, or sugar-coating my ‘critique through action’ of commoditised everything.

    1. The “I don’t have time for that” one is particularly galling. As if you or I have more than 24 hours in a day like other people do, or have no other responsibilities like other people do. Galling, I tell you 🙂 I, for example “didn’t have time” to bake my coworker a birthday cake, so I woke up at 5am to make time. Sheesh.

  2. Whenever I hear, particularly from mothers, that they don’t have time for x, y, z, I point out that during the Second World War, women worked; raised children (often de facto as single mums as the husband was on active service); managed the housekeeping with extreme shortages and without modern appliances; grew some of their own food; stitched, darned and knitted their way to a wardrobe…

    And if that is hard for them to relate to, I point to my mum who raised four kids in a foreign country with no support from family or friends, no car, a husband who was travelling for business more than he was home… Not only did my mother put home-made food on the table and clothes on our back, she (and dad) also made a lot of the Christmas and birthday gifts for us.

    Needless to say, it is not a popular message but the “no time” excuse really riles me!

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