"If you want to be a godly woman, you should go out and help the poor and needy, instead of spending your days polishing the bathroom sink."
This, my friends, is the first time I get such a scorching remark in response to a post about cleaning and home organization; a milestone! Most of the negative comments I receive come as a reply to my posts about feminism, masculine leadership and the role of women.
But, as I already said several times, while I have no intention to allow a hostile spirit in my comments section, even personal insults can be a blessing if they cause me to stop, think, and double- and triple-check my attitude, which is precisely what I'm going to do now.
Not to brag, but just to clarify, I will say that I definitely support – and practice – helping others and extending the hand of fellowship to those who need it. As someone who experienced the overwhelming kindness of strangers, how can I not? In the past few years, I volunteered in the local community center; tutored a sick child without receiving any payment, for many months; baked for charity events; collected and donated used clothes and other items; no, I'm not saying I do enough – but one never stops growing, isn't that so?
However, here's something I have a problem with: the idea that it is acceptable (or even encouraged) to neglect the needs of our most loved ones, the people closest to us, the ones God entrusted us with – our family – in order to go out and do something 'for the greater good'.
This might ruffle someone's feathers, but I think that if my home is dirty and messy, meals aren't provided on time, the refrigerator is empty, the dirty laundry hamper is overflowing, and I haven't spent quality time with my family, or neglected my spiritual life, for a while now – this means something is wrong! I'll even tell you what: from the best intentions, from trying to do as much good as I possibly can, I end up doing harm.
Please note that I'm not referring to emergencies. If I see an injured stranger who needs a ride to the hospital, I'll drop my grocery bag or brush and mop or whatever I'm doing at the moment, and I will help. But if, for instance, I volunteer in the local elders club, while my Grandma stays home alone, her needs unattended, I just don't see how this can be right.
I remember this story I heard once, about a man who was asked, 'what does your wife do?' to which he replied, 'she takes care of unwanted children'. Some nodded approvingly, but then his honesty got the better of him and he added: 'the children are our own, and well, if she didn't take care of them, they would be unwanted!'
Don't get me wrong; if you can fit volunteering (or any other activity) in your life without your immediate duties suffering and without living in a hectic, crazy pace, that's wonderful. But if you have a family, you have obligations – a daughter to her elderly parents, a wife to her husband, a mother to her children; for them, you are irreplaceable. Without taking care of those who need you the most, you cannot have peace and order in your life. And if you don't have that, how can you bring it to others?