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Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Proverbs 31 Farmwife

I often ask myself why the Farmer married me. I mean, I was virtually penniless when he met me, living in my parents’ basement. Having recently returned from a 3-year stint in Taiwan, I was suffering from a severe case of reverse culture shock. I burst into tears the first time he asked me out, because I was failing miserably at re-assimilation to life in Canada. The poor guy must have thought “oh, that’s too bad. She’s cute but she’s crazy...”
I can’t cook. Well, I can, but when I do take the time to put a meal together, I usually wander off while it’s cooking and go check emails or weed the garden or something. I know it’s done when the smoke alarm goes off.
To reassure myself that I am doing a good job here, I thought I would refer to the Bible, Proverbs 31, where the epitome of a good wife is described in detail. Let’s see: “A good wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.” (Well, the Farmer isn’t the jealous type anyway, but I think he knows I only have eyes for him and he can trust me implicitly. Check one.) “She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” (oops – I have narrowly missed his head with a pitchfork on more than one occasion – but I’m pretty sure he knows it was unintentional...) “She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.” (Check, check. My hands are always full of wool, and I can’t wait to get out in the barn to work with the sheep.) “She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from afar.” (Well, actually, it’s from the B&H grocery in the middle of town but it is a twelve-minute drive.) “She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and tasks for her maidens.” (Yes, I do get up before dawn but everyone pretty much feeds themselves around here – refer to paragraph 1 – and the maidens are none too pleased with the task list either.) Let’s skip a few points here and see what else applies... “She girds her loins with strength and makes her arms strong.” (It’s all that hay-pitching I’ve been doing. Builds a good set of pipes.) “She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.” (Well, freelance writing doesn’t pay much...and my lamp is still on at midnight because I’m trying to meet a deadline.) “She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.” (Have you ever tried to get a teenager to wear a winter coat? Let alone a scarlet one?) “She makes herself coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple.” (Well, purple isn’t my colour and I can sew about as well as I can cook. Subtract 10 points.) “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.” (Actually, I don’t think they were elders; they were pub patrons. But he is pretty well known by readers of this column, much to his chagrin ;) “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” (If you can’t laugh, what can you do? That’s my motto...) “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” (Actually, sometimes I find keeping my mouth shut is both the wisest and kindest decision...) “She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.” (Well, I’m not lazy. But writing a story or walking with the horses trumps cleaning the house any day.) “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” (Actually, I don’t wish to hear about the many women in this particular survey, but I certainly do feel blessed when I look at my life today.) “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” (Well, He is impressive. Life on the farm proves that point to me every season.) “Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.”
Well, a woman’s work is never done, they say, but the rewards, if oft unspoken, are boundless. I think I’m doing ok after all, based on these guidelines. But I can’t help hearing my late father’s favourite description of the perfect wife, reverberating in my head: “She is strong like bull, beautiful like tractor, smart like school bus.” Haha. That one fits even better.


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