Image from The Three Sillies by Margot Zemach
There is a folk tale about a farmer who scoffs at his wife and the work she does. He decides to switch with her for a day and show her how easy her tasks are in comparison to his own. In the course of the day, he spills wine, turns over the milk, burns meat, disorders the house, and in general makes a mess of things. By the end of the day, when the wife is expected to return from the fields, the disaster culminates in the cow climbing onto the roof of the house. The husband has tied his arm or leg to the cow in order to mind her. So in some versions of the story he is at this point drawn up the chimney; in others, he is dragged up the other side of the roof.
I am that farmer. I have disdained the ease and tranquility with which so many people seem to meet life. I have insisted on the grandeur and indispensability of my labor, all the while priding myself on the bearing such a burden.
In the story, it is the wife who sets things in order, who manages and juggles the many daily demands of life. The many merely steps out each day and tends a field.
Then the LORD Godsaid, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18
He made us a helper to bear the burden of the day. The humble women of the story is not secondary, she is as John Donne says, the fixed point which makes his circle just.
In this manner, woman stands in as a figure of God who humbles himself and becomes unto us a servant.
God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in trouble. Palsm 41:1
Show me my task O Lord, and let me not be proud, but grateful in it, ever mindful that it is you who bears the burden, you who sets the house in order, you my very present help. Free me from the folly of trying to do your job and forgive me the mess I have made. Teach me to delight in your excellent management of my house.