A Healing Table: Rethinking Proverbs 31

(Part two in a series on finding simplicity when living with chronic pain/limits; the full series can be found here)

Proverbs 31 isnt the only model for Biblical Womanhood, we also have models through the lovely Lady Wisdom of Proverbs 8 for example, who "was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him". That's really important to remember i think, that thinking only in terms of tangible productivity should not be our only lens. But with the Proverbs 31 model, even this can be seen with a far deeper understanding than is usually given it, such as Glenys Robyn Hicks 's wonderful exploring (see here and here).

And one part of Proverbs 31 is that of having "servants". Many have interpreted that to mean machines in today's times (in other words, our typical household appliances) . But especially once the chronic limits hit, i have had to rethink this. I have found that the less stimulation there is around me, the easier it is to handle the pain of my condition. I know machines are supposed to make things easier, and sometimes they truly do...the heater, the stovetop, the toaster oven, the refridgerator etc. But for many other appliances i have found they can actually make things harder. There is the noise, and there is the clutter...both of those things add to stress significantly i find, and then that makes other things in life just that much harder to handle.

Its a matter of discerning i suppose. To me the best things as "servants" are those that are passive and quiet. For example, in trying to find solutions to the summer heat here, the best option so far has been to unseal the roof vents and repair them (they had been sealed closed against rain leaks this winter until we'd be able to repair them later....oh those costly repairs, one of the not so charming things about living in a charming vintage trailer) . Something like a vent is silent (no machines, unless i choose to turn on its fan sometimes)....the heat rises and goes out passively. So that's just one example. Been learning to ask myself, before getting (or even making) something, if there is a quieter and less mechanical or more passive way to meet the same purpose. Often there is....and approaching things that way, i've found it really does help in making home more peaceful... which in turn lowers stress, which in turns helps when one is living with pain.

And even with ergonomics, some machines can make things ironically harder, so thats another thing to watch. For example it can be a nightmare to use a dishwasher if one has a very serious spinal injury (three guesses how i found this out), all that pulling and bending. As physically demanding as handwashing all one's dishes can be, i have found its actually still easier my body (not to mention spirit!) than using a dishwasher. So another question i ask in finding my "servants" is: is there an easier way on my body than this? And every body, of course, is different, and may find different things easier/harder upon it.

This discerning effects not only machines but things like furniture, or placement of things. Stuff like this is going to affect a person everyday, and it makes a huge difference to simply pay attention to how a piece of furniture, or its placement, supports your body or doesnt, and to change things there accordingly. What having "servants" really means i think, is having support. And we can create this in quiet passive ways, such as paying attention to simple things like this. Another biggie is watching where things are kept or stored, paying attention to how easy/hard it is on your body to access or use these things, and then moving them accordingly. Seems like a little thing to put things in easier to use places, but it has a big effect...

(Image from Making of a Homemaker)

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