I know I was made for this. To enjoy the chase of excellence, and the satisfaction of a job well done. But some days I just don’t want to do it. Last week I sat at a table of lovely women and realized I was the only one there without a paying occupation. Of course they were sweet about it and tried to highlight all the things I do (like writing, blogging, homeschooling, etc.) none of which I get paid for.
In that moment, I kind of wished I had more to lend to my name than just another mom home with her kids who no longer has a career to return to even if I wanted to. Today, again, my work will primarily consist of figuring out how to convince my 2 year old that I don’t know how to replace the batteries in his broken light saber and couldn’t he just use one of the three other ones that do work.
I did five loads of laundry, cooked multiple meals, rationed snacks, taught four school subjects, read aloud, sent emails, and made a list of things for my husband to do tonight when I’m at church for a rehearsal. I did not shower, clean my kitchen, finish my daughter’s math or reading with her, fill backpacks for tomorrow or dozens of other things I’m probably forgetting. Some my husband will do tonight after he gets home from work and I head out the door. Others I will tackle when I get home and probably should be relaxing so my head doesn’t explode. But another bunch just plain won’t get done.
I have to believe this is not how it was meant to be. We were meant to work, to be challenged and to accomplish things. But the curse of sin is the harried, busy pace. The meaningless tasks that must be repeated again and again, and very little satisfaction comes from them. The constant feeling of running behind and never being enough.
While I know we won’t ever fully escape the tyranny of labor, I think Jesus did intend us to live free. That freedom comes in our attitude toward work and how we allow it to connect us to God. I love Brother Lawrence because he recognized that he could experience God’s presence in his daily routine of washing pots in the monastery. Monks live a very routine life, from the daily offices of prayer to the chores and tasks they were assigned.
Can I do this? Can I let God speak to me and make my most annoying moments and repetitive chores times of prayer? Can I let my work, unpaid and seemingly insignificant as it is, be holy? Only if I am willing to surrender my agenda and pride and truly do all as unto the Lord. That sounds so deeply spiritual but for me it mostly looks like praying under my breath and trying not to bang the pots too loudly in frustration. Taking a tender moment to wonder at how fast my son is growing and verbally thank God for him, as I change yet another diaper. I fail at this more than I succeed but just attempting it is a victory and takes me one step closer to redeeming the curse; the one I am overcoming day by day as I work out my salvation and seek, even in the smallest of ways, to become more like the most holy, servant of all.