Praise as Plain as Bread and Milk

My wise friend and mentor Cindy Rollins once wrote:

…surely mothers at home are the modern equivalent of the monastics. We are the preservers of truth and beauty in our culture. This will never be understood by the culture at large. We will continue to be scorned and told we are not contributing. But some day maybe hundreds of years from now someone will write a book titled How Motherhood Saved Civilization.

In light of this we should be very, very busy in our homes creating an environment of truth & beauty.

Somewhere about the rubbish of my scraps of paper and clippings I have a scrap of a poem I found once in a now defunct book catalog called Orange Cat Goes to Market. Kathy Epling used to write the catalog for the small bookstore, and I loved that catalog. Ms. Epling and I share little in our politics, but we both homeschooled, loved our children, and believed in the value of community and home-things.  We both have disabled children.

She wrote a beautiful Christmas poem about bringing her children to the Nativity, an honest poem about the exhaustion that sometimes accompanies the work involved in mothering children, in taking small tots anywhere, and within that poem was a sustaining (to me) phrase about a mother’s praise, ‘plain as bread and milk.’

Bread and milk are plain fare, peasant food, but anybody who has ever baked bread also knows that the humble loaf of bread is a beautiful symbol of hearth and home, a work of patience and attention, a hands on process requiring some attention and feel for when the dough is ‘just right.’

Milk, too, is both an ordinary food, and one of two foods God used to describe the promised land, one flowing with milk and honey. The Proverbs 31 woman is to have the law of kindness on her tongue, and we speak metaphorically of a kind and generous soul as one flowing with the milk of human kindness. Bread is a metaphor, too. It’s a metaphor for our Lord, who is the Bread of Life. He gives us life, and we give it back to Him.

Think about that today as you go about your daily tasks and duties. Your praise and your days may be plain as bread and milk, but you, too, can be a preserver of truth and beauty.

You may also enjoy an older  post on Sacramental Realities, or this version on frugalities as sacraments.

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