Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Jill of All Trades, Mistress of None

Marian icon from {Paperwine Industries}

Daniel Bearman posted about {bagpipes, sainthood, and other passing interests} on his blog and it really resonated with me.  Read it.   But if you don't, the gist of it is that we have interests, those interests fade or are given up because they require too much time/effort/money that we can't give them.  The same goes for sainthood.

For a short time, I had my intro over there beneath my photo as "Jill of all trades, mistress of none." The title of my blog is taken from a Chesterton quote, in the greater context of which he says

She [the woman] should have not one trade but twenty hobbies; she, unlike the man, may develop all her second bests . . . they were kept at home in order to keep them broad.

The whole passage rubs many people the wrong way, but it never bothered me one mite.  I'm coming to understand that it's because it is me.  I am that woman.  I would love nothing more than to be forced to stay in my home, wherever that might be, and be allowed to pursue all my interests, before dissolution, anxiety, and real life kill the curiosity.  Because life is so, so interesting.  And it is so, so short.

It's good for me to meet men who feel the same way I do.   Because I grew up in a conventional family, in which the father went out to earn a paycheck and the mother stayed home and raised children.   I better understand now that different families are (surprise!) different, and that in some homes, the mother may be the one with the mastery and the father the one with the broadness.  Or the mother and father are both experts.  Or the mother and father are both "Jacks of all trade."

I guess the next question is, where does one go from here?  How does one choose?   Does one devote oneself to excellence in one field and give up all else?  And how is one able to keep oneself and one's family afloat while also finding time do the things that help one thrive?

What are your passing or lasting interests?   How do you balance the "practical" and the things that sustain your soul?


For further reading:


  1. Oh my goodness..I was just thinking about this. Because, not motherhood, but moving off-grid has forced me to give up some of my trades..and I miss them. We're trying to find ways to make pottery happen again for me right now..but for now, I can almost feel that Chesterton quote..because there's so much in each day that I manage but don't excel at. And it drives me crazy sometimes, because I like being good at things..and then - baking. I rock at baking..but learning to use the woodstove for baking has been humbling. LOVELY..thanks!!!

    1. It's a constant frustration for me . . . talk about first world, problems! I know my interests are sprawled way too much and I need to reign them in a little bit. I should actually spend some time in prayer discerning what are the things that I'm really being called to do and what I'm not. Sometimes I even doubt the blogging, but then I remember that I get to talk about practically EVERYTHING on a blog, and I think I might like to hold onto that one.

      I do so wish you could find a kiln and some space to throw in. :)


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