When I first became a mum I quickly felt my brain begin to stagnate. Don’t get me wrong I adored my son, but I struggled with the adjustment from being busy at work, to being at home with someone whose only form of communication was to cry. It was then that I recognised the importance of self-development and being a perpetual learner.
Thankfully my son was an easy baby and he settled like clockwork at 7pm. So I developed a passion for the 7pm news. Contact with the world beyond. My knowledge of current affairs soared as I soaked up each story or interview. From there I moved on to documentaries and was over joyed when someone introduced me to TED.
I somehow knew instinctively that motherhood would be so much more enjoyable if I continued to broaden my horizons rather than let my world shrink to the limits of what I already knew.
“She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar.” Proverbs 31:14
One thing that continues to amaze me about the woman in Proverbs 31 is the way in which she didn’t fit the social norm of the day.
The woman written about in Proverbs 31 would have been part of a very traditional culture. The other women around her would be cooking the recipes that their mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers had used before them. In that day and age “cooking food from afar” was not as simple as nipping to the local supermarket and picking up a jar of ready made sauce. This lady would’ve had to hunt to find out about foreign foods.
I can imagine her waiting for the merchants to return so she could see what new and exotic herbs or spices they had. I can see her asking question, after question, about different recipes and cooking methods. I can hear her neighbours commenting on the strange smells and cooking methods that were coming from her house. I can sense her children’s
excitement disappointment as another exotic concoction is served up for dinner. And yet she continues to bring her food from afar. She continues to learn new skills.
This characteristic of self development holds her in good stead when she starts her own vineyard and when she sells the produce to the merchants. She never settled and yet is very content with her life.
I love those safe aspects of my life that are continuous and familiar but if I didn’t broaden my horizons and learn new skills I would become very bored and frustrated. The new brings balance to the existing and helps me to not get stuck in a rut. It makes me a better wife, mother, daughter and friend even if at first glance there’s no connection with the thing I’m learning.
I may never be known for my foreign cookery skills but I will always scan the horizon for something new to learn.