I search the pantry, looking for the perfect snack. The babies are in bed, so I take my time. What I really want is a Canadian maple cookie, imported personally by my husband back from his stay in Ontario. I stare at the orange Mr. Maple box…no, it’s probably sinful at this point to have any more sugar. An image of the Sacred Heart comes to mind, as well as a story I had read a month or two ago about some babies after birth needing an insulin drip after experiencing sugar withdrawal symptoms, and I close the door. My husband prepares a cheese platter and finds a bottle of wine.
Satisfied with our treats, we race to the couch, my husband’s laptop
open in front of us. He right-clicks and the beautifully dramatic and
intense music starts. A gorgeous estate appears on screen, and it
I watch as the beautifully dressed, perfectly-coifed head family
tends to their daily business. I get distracted trying to decide what
the ladies’ dresses are made of. I envy the gorgeous fabric and
tailoring and matching jewels and gloves and hats, glancing down at my
own now mannish-looking “outfit” of jeans and maxed-out maternity top.
Too depressing to behold, my eyes return to the screen and I wonder how
they get their hair to curl and stay up like that.
I smile as the mother refers to her husband as “his lordship”, who is
every bit a lord, inside and out. Gallant and handsome, virtuous and
principled, he runs the estate with great care, aware that his
inheritance is the fruit of the labor of generations ahead of him,
determined to preserve this great gift to the best of his ability.
And then the camera cuts to the also beautifully-dressed staff moving
quickly about the house, deftly completing their chores with equal care
and concern. I fantasize about them coming to my house, fluffing the
pillows, making the beds with clean linens, creasing the sheets, leaving
a jar of biscuits next to our beds. Mr. Carson, the head of staff,
doles out reminders to the staff that they and their work must always
reflect the dignity of the family of whom they serve. I am immediately
struck by both the truth of his words, how we as Christians would do
well to remember the same as we daily strive to serve our Lordship, and
with what a foreign ring they resonate in my modern ears.
All verbal exchanges—pleasant or not– in the house between the
family, the servants, or between the two are marked with extraordinary
politeness and decorum and the whole scene unfolds with great dignity.
At the end of the episode, my husband closes his laptop, if a little
reluctantly and we head upstairs to bed. I kick my daughter’s pink
nightie to the side of the hallway with my toe, and I watch as my
lordship brushes his teeth. My life feels so casual compared to what
we’ve been watching the past forty-five minutes. I wonder if a wait
staff, gorgeous dresses, and a clearer cultural code of decorum would
help. Maybe, I think. But I suppose I already have a Lord, and those
extra things simply point to the reality that I already ought to
know—that our serving Him, Infinite Love, is the most dignified work
there is. I simply need faith to remember that. Not maids…but faith and
maids would be awesome.