Life is too important to be taken seriously.
Crochet is a great way to sit back and think and still look productive. One of the rules of society – including the commune – was that when someone attempts to sit and think, a task with their name on it magically appears. Fortunately for me, the Women Who Know These Things decided that my task was working in the nursery. It was great! My friend Angela and I took care of all the children too young to go to school.
The commune home-schooled the children ages five and up; they were taught reading, writing, and arithmetic by a group of sisters called the Handmaidens. How cool was that! The handmaidens were definitely part of the “in” crowd. Being nursery workers, Angela and I did not attain to handmaidenhood; we were in the minor league. Nonetheless, we labored in the hope that someday our efforts would be noticed, and we would be called up to the majors. Looking back, I’m glad I was never an official handmaiden. The handmaidens had to teach the children well, bringing them up in the way that they should go. They were responsible for setting their charges’ feet on the path of righteousness so that they would end up in heaven, rather than hell. On the other hand, Angela and I were all about having fun.
Oh, the fun times we had with those babies! Babies are so cooperative. They go along with anything you want to do as long as they like it and want to do it too. They were more than happy to be in the Lord’s army and “march with the infantry, ride in the cavalry, and fly o’er the enemy.”
Note to self: Being an anti-war hippie, the Lord’s Army song smote my conscience. Should we really be singing a song of war? Then I realized we were not actually at war, in the real sense. It was just a metaphor for a spiritual conflict. It was not as if Christians in America were physically being persecuted. But the stories persist even to this day. Here in this country, some evangelical Christians insist on feeling persecuted, even when the facts state otherwise.
Angela and I also danced with the toddlers. This was scriptural because David “danced before the Lord with all his might.” We did our best to emulate him. We would place Mindy and Enoch on our shoulders, standing in opposite corners of the room. Then we would wave their arms and dance toward each other. When we met in the center, we would dance around each other in a circle and head back to the other corners of the room. Enoch and Mindy loved it! They laughed and screamed with delight. It was great fun, and not a little noisy.
One day the noise drew one of the sisters to the nursery to see what the ruckus was all about. She was not pleased. In her eyes, all such merriment was evil. It was not serious, and Life is serious. Angela and I were rebuked, so we put away our dancing shoes; however, we still found ways to amuse the little ones – we just had to laugh quietly.
I didn’t get this Christian embargo on fun and laughter. A brother once told me that Jesus never laughed. How did he know? If you delight yourself in the little things, you will always be delighted because the world is full of little things. How could Jesus not laugh? Especially if he hung around believers!
Fresno in the summer is hot – I mean HOT! Seriously hot! So when the Patriarch got hold of an above-ground swimming pool, I was seriously delighted. Once it was filled with water, Angela and I and a few others settled in for a serious game of “Marco Polo.” (We wore our long dresses in the pool in order to preserve modesty.)
It was great fun until the Patriarch decided it was too much fun, that it was worldly, and that we were neglecting the weightier things of justice and mercy and faith. (Matt 23:23) So the pool was drained and dismantled. (“Get thee behind me, pool!”)
It was back to crochet where I could sit and think and look productive.
I sit by the fire and think of all that I have seen,
Of meadow-flowers and butterflies in summers that have been.