vocation in small acts

enjoying february sun

My family and I are just getting back into the swing of things after a big wonderful wedding weekend (such big adventures can be tiring for tiny boys!).  Upon returning home we ate some lazy meals, watched a movie or two, went hunting for our camera (we left it at my parents house), and got the house somewhat in order again.

And now the week begins.  I love Monday mornings.  I love the return to the day-to-day routine, the fresh beginning of a week spread out ahead like newly tilled ground.

I love Monday mornings.  I love my work, and I believe in my work.  Caring for a child.  Buying food from people who care well for the land and its creatures.  Praying.  Praying to learn generosity.  Praying to learn thankfulness.  Practicing the craft of thrift.  Practicing the art of sales resistance.  Making mistakes.  Making yogurt.  Trying to keep the dishes done and the floor clean.  Trying to keep up with correspondences.  Failing often.  Nursing.  Knitting.  Tending my body and this tiny patch of earth I inhabit.  I believe our small, daily acts such as these are the truest form of activism.  I believe they are a vocation.  I believe they are my calling for this time and place.

I am reading Sex, Economy, Freedom & Community by Wendell Berry again, for the fifth(?) time since I bought it just over a year ago. I often think about that passage I quoted in that post about using the health of one’s community to chose.  People are usually surprised that I don’t use a breast pump (which in itself says a lot).  Aware that it is a very personal decision, they usually don’t ask why, and I am grateful for that.  My choice not to pump came after reading this article passed on to me by a coworker (I hadn’t thought much about it before).

I think having the option to breast pump is a wonderful, wonderful thing.  It gives so much freedom to women who love their work and can take care of their family (and themselves!) best by working away from home and providing good care for their babies during the day.

But what about the women working at Woodman’s who can hardly afford to take their much needed, but still unpaid, maternity leave?  What about women who can afford neither quality day care nor staying home to take care of their infant themselves (Imagine how different this country would be if all women got nine months paid maternity leave like women living in Norway recieve)?  Pumping is not a substitute for paid maternity leave or on-site day-care.  Giving mothers the ability to work is good, but that allowance often turns into requirement.  And those bearing the brunt of that are the low-wage workers.  I wish it weren’t that way.

So I breastfeed.  And on very rare occasions of great importance (for example, standing up in my best friend’s wedding), I use formula.  I know that this decision doesn’t make any difference to policy makers or CEO’s.  But that small act of saying no to something that makes me pay dearly (not just from my wallet) for what I already have (the ability to feed my child), seems very good.

If you have any thoughts about small acts, sales resistance, motherhood, pumping, breastfeeding, comment away.  I hope this fresh week ahead begins very blessed.



2 thoughts on “vocation in small acts

  1. girl, you are quickly working your way up to “hero” status in the ranks of people i know and love 🙂 i think you are one of my favorite activists

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