Another thing added to the list. They come so much faster than they get crossed off, all these various to-do's, and it just keeps growing. It feels overwhelming, never-ending, why bother?
A new bit of work to tackle. A new mess that must be cleaned. A new email that deserves a thoughtful reply. A new thought that demands to be written down and fleshed out. Another meal to cook, another load of laundry to do, another dustpan's worth of crumbs under my feet. My head hurts.
It's never going to end! I think. Never!
But that's just it, isn't it? It's never going to end.
Have I been expecting, all this very long time, that the list will ever be empty? That the work will ever be done? The laundry, done, even as we wear clothes that will soon make their way to the hamper? The dishes, done, even as we look forward to our next meal? The work, done, even as we count on its continuance for its meager income? The writing, done, even as words ever rise within us?
It's never going to end - and praises for that!
If I look at these daily tasks as things to accomplish, things to check off, there, done, finished, I will feel endlessly frustrated. Because they are never finished. They will be there again, sometimes days later, sometimes mere hours later.
But if I view them as ways to bless myself, serve my family, and worship my God, they become good things, satisfying things. Not fun, not always, let's be real here. But Good.
These daily tasks nourish me physically. As I write these words, I feel the ache in my arms from an afternoon spent on my hands and knees, scrubbing every bit of tiled floor throughout our home. It's a good ache, a satisfying feeling, evidence of having pushed my body even in this silly small way. All day I lift and bend and scour, and maybe it's not a 5K run but some nights I collapse into bed as though it has been.
These daily tasks nourish me emotionally. They give me time and space to let my thoughts drift, to rest my mind, to let words swirl and form within me. The mindlessness of these duties is blessing in disguise, allowing that which is creative within me to bubble to the surface. Yet too often I spend that time grumbling instead, acting the martyr, silently stewing as I do what must be done. Why do I choose anger over daydreams, complaints over creativity?
These daily tasks nourish me spiritually. They mirror my own inner dailiness of confession and repentance, renewal of mind and heart, pushing back the darkness within as Christ shapes and forms and fills my heart. Always the dust and dirt returns, and always I wash it away it again. Always the mess returns, and always I tidy it again. Pushing back the darkness and the chaos again and again and again, what holy work this is!
I want to say No More to the grumbling and the overwhelm, but I know myself. Perhaps, though, I can remember more often? And then more, and still more? This is blessing. This is good. I am privileged to have these daily moments of mindlessness in which to think and pray and create and worship and bless and serve. Thank you.