Monday, February 22, 2010

One Crown Worth it All

Ruth Benedict, one of the first women to attain recognition as a major social scientist, wrote in her journal in 1912:

To me it seems a very terrible thing to be a woman.  There is one crown which perhaps is worth it all-- a great love, a quiet home, and children.   We all know that is all that is worthwhile, and we must peg away, showing off our wares in the market if we have money, or manufacturing careers for ourselves if we haven't.  We have not the motive to prepare ourselves for a 'lifework' of teaching, of social work-- we know that we would lay it down with hallelujah in the height of our success, to make a home for the right man.  And all the time in the background of our consciousness rings the warning that perhaps the right man will never come.  A great love is given to very few.  Perhaps this makeshift time-filler of a job is our lifework after all.

I'm feeling melancholy today.  My "career" feels like such a waste of time-- I am constantly worried about where my money is coming from.  I contemplate quitting and finding something else to do, but the same problem arises-- what is my life's work?  What can I do that seems worthwhile?  Like Benedict, I think the cry of my heart has been to be a helpmeet (Genesis 2:18) and a mom (like my mom and her mom before her-- two women who have utterly inspired me).  I don't think a man should be my end goal-- that is reserved for following Christ, but I can't help but think: isn't this what we (women) were created for?

It's not the lack of a man that distresses me at the moment, just the feeling that what I am doing in my life serves no purpose.  How wonderful it must be to have felt what it means to be called to something!  I have been told that here are people who love what they do, and moreover, get paid to do it.  I'm not complaining about what I do, but it would be nice to get to paid for it as well.

(The above quote comes from the book I am currently re-reading, Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot.  I highly recommend it to you ladies.  I think I discovered it in college, and it remains one of my favorites to this day.)


My apologies to all the men I just freaked out.


TD-2243 said...

No apologies necessary. I was freaked out long before your recent insight. As for the people who love their work, God has smiled on them. For the rest of us, we long for the next payday.

amy m said...

it is encouraging just to know that i am not crazy for having thought very similar things as your post and quotes. somehow, i think faith, for us, is living in the tension benedict so aptly described. thanks for writing!