Sunday, March 26, 2006

Ode to Saipan

It's very early Sunday morning here in the CNMI and the sun has just come up over the Pacific. The sky has a few puffy white clouds and the palm trees with their heads stuck up above the rest of the canopy are swaying in the gentle breeze.
Our house is situated on the "back" side of Mt. Topochau. Looking out over island and ocean I can see that we are positioned in the bowl of a natural amphitheater. The shape of the land in this spot causes the tradewinds to make a haunting "woooo" sound that I notice especially during the quiet of the night. For the longest time after moving here I would wake up with the thought that it was blizzarding outside from the sound of those winds. It still occasionally surprises me to go out early in the morning into the warm, balmy air.
There is a hymn that says "This earth was once a garden place, with all her glories common..." Saipan certainly fits that description--a beautiful garden place between the Pacific and the Philippine Sea.

Del Benson Photography

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Home Sweet Home

My niece posted a blog ( in which she quoted C.S. Lewis as saying that a homemaker has the ultimate career and all other careers go to support that. In reading her comments and the comments others left on her blog I realized that my feelings on this require more space.

Many of the comments assumed homemaking had to do with mothers as the homemakers. My great-grandmother died in childbirth, leaving behind her husband and 9 children, which included my grandmother who was 3 years old at the time. Although he never remarried, with the help of all of the children, he made a home. His "outside" work, of course, supported that home. Throughout the rest of her life, my grandmother praised and honored her "Papa" for keeping their family together and organizing the children to create their home.

It's true (thank goodness!) that being a homemaker is more than performing a list of cleaning chores and doing crafts. Interestingly enough, when I think of the homes that stand out in my mind, they weren't all that clean! But there was a feeling there--an acceptance, an understanding of priorities, a quiet, firm feeling that was above the hubbub of everyday activities.

I've also noticed that homes don't seem to depend on how many people are in them. Don't single people create a home for themselves? Don't childless couples make a home? Empty-nesters still have nests! For some, at least temporarily, home may be just a place to sleep, but it still provides the opportunity to close the door on the world and have a little refuge--make it what they will.

Victor Frankl, in his book Man's Search for Meaning, writes that there are three things that bring meaning to our lives--love, suffering, and creating. We position ourselves and promote ourselves throughout life in order to create for ourselves, in whatever our circumstances, a place we can call "home."

What I'm feeling is that C.S. Lewis was simply stating a truth as his observations led him to understand it. What was in his head we can only speculate, but it does seem that all the things we do support our homemaking--an innate need to belong somewhere, wherever and with whomever that may be.