“The really heroic people are not the ones who travel 10,000 miles by dog sled, but those who stay 10,000 days in one place.” —William Gordon Episcopal Bishop of Alaska
I was struggling today to decide what to write about. I have several projects that I am working on, but they aren’t yet ready for Bloggerville. I am busy doing things that I regularly do, but have already blogged about, like making bread and jam, household chores and the like. I am wiping dirty hands and faces, and providing guidance to my little brood. But I am not doing anything exciting today. It is just an ordinary day at Gallimaufry Grove.
That’s when it hit me. This is the part of life that eats a lot of people’s lunch. This is what causes wives and mothers across the globe to drop their smiling sweetness and start griping and complaining. This is the very thing that tempts us to cry and pout. It is the mundane chores that get to us.
It is easy to stay positive and motivated when you are working on an exciting and impressive project with immediate results. You will impress your friends and colleagues, who will show it by telling you how great you are. Life is good. But what about the long term projects that no one really sees, like raising Godly children? Or the projects that never get truly done, like the dishes and the laundry and the meals?
I don’t know about you, but I have never had anyone stop in awe at the way I dried a dish. I have never had a single news agency request an interview about how I fold the towels. Not even one. (Shocking, I know, because I can fold a mean washcloth.) In fact, I sometimes think my family believes it is all done by magic. You drop your dirty laundry into the hamper and the next day it reappears as a stack of clean, neatly folded laundry. Magic. It is the only logical explanation. Because everyone knows that no sane woman would stay up half the night catching up on laundry.
The mundane chores arrive every morning, and getting them done often seems to offer no reward. With many of the daily tasks, it simply means you are that much closer to needing to do it again. So how do you stay sweet and positive when the bulk of your life is spent doing work no one seems to notice?
Wisdom looks ahead. It sees the end result of a choice or action and decides if it is worth doing. What if I diligently do the dishes and train my children to do the same? Well, we get to live in a sanitary, pest -free environment. The dishes are clean and ready for the next use. The home is far more peaceful when it is tidy and orderly. The children are trained in the responsibilities of life. Seems pretty good, huh?
But, what if I decide that I will leave the dishes and go do something that will bring the accolades of man instead? My home will fall into chaos. Roaches and flies will abound. It will stink and the mold will be a health hazard. No one will want to walk into the kitchen, let alone cook in it, so we will end up eating a sub-standard diet of fast food. Our health will suffer. My family will feel neglected and start acting out. Bickering will ensue. My kids will learn a chaotic lifestyle and will not be ready and equipped for the responsibilities of their adult lives. Who knew so much could happen over a sink full of dirty dishes. Obviously that won’t happen in one day, but you get the point. A lifestyle of neglecting the mundane responsibilities will cause you and your family to fall into chaos. Just because no one seems to notice the labor doesn’t mean it isn’t important.
Perhaps the very fact that most of the time, no one notices how much we do is really a testament to how well we do it. I mean, people are quick to point out when we do something wrong, or when we do it poorly. Jr will certainly notice if his favorite jeans aren’t washed or there are no clean glasses in the cabinet. But if no one is complaining, it means the jeans and glasses are washed. You did your job well. Good for you!
Wisdom sees all this. It doesn’t need outside encouragement to do what is necessary. It is encouraged by looking at the alternatives and choosing wisely. It stays the course.