Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A life of ease

I spend an awful lot of my time trying to make myself happy. I try to do all the things I want to do and avoid the things I don't want to do. Everything in the world and popular culture tells me this should be the very best way to achieve real lasting happiness. I have noticed, though, that even when I am successful in doing only the things I like to do and getting out of doing all the things I dislike, I am never really as happy as I should be...
For example, I cannot stand to do dishes. I just loath standing at the sink working my way through piles of sticky, soggy, dirty dishes encrusted with such appetizing fare as half-chewed meat, mushy cereal and other equally disgusting yet totally unidentifiable leftovers. Thankfully, I have figured out how to avoid this dreaded job entirely. I have delegated dishes to the kids. It sounds perfect, doesn't it? If the kids do the dishes then first of all I don't have to, second of all, they will learn responsibility and third of all they will be doing their part to help out around the house. Unfortunately, it never seems to work out so perfectly. My four year old is suppose to unload the dishwasher but before he actually does the job he usually spends about ten minutes laying on the floor crying and whining about having to do it. My 8 year old and 11 year old take turns loading the dirty dishes into the dishwasher but they must be nagged repeatedly before they get around to the work. And then they feel the need to argue about whose turn it is every single time they are reminded that the sink is overflowing. Which brings me to yet another problem, the sink is always overflowing. It seems the children can never stay on top of the job because they are so much better at creating dirty dishes than cleaning them. So, though I should be thrilled about never having to face the filthy plates myself, the current "solution" hardly makes me happy. It really would be easier to just do the dishes myself.
In contrast, one thing I love to do is to sleep in. Getting a few extra hours of rest in the morning sounds like the greatest luxury to me. This week, because the kids and I are on our Christmas break and Tim is on vacation from work, I have had the chance to indulge in this oh-so-rare treat. The baby, who just a few weeks ago was sleeping through the night, has completely regressed and is now getting up every few hours again so that makes sleeping in all that much more appealing. This morning I had the opportunity to sleep until 10 am. How wonderful! Except, when I did get up, the kitchen was a total disaster. The overflowing sink was now completely buried under a mass of dishes that overflowed off the edge of the counter. The table had even more dirty dishes scattered all over, sticky spills covered much of the wood finish, and the gallon jug of milk sat spoiling in the midst of it all. The floor too was covered in sticky spots and crushed cereal. It was practically lunch time before I could get myself a little breakfast because it took that long to locate a spoon and clear a spot in the sink to wash it. I guess getting up an hour earlier probably would have made for a happier morning.
My life is full of so many examples like this. Everyday there are opportunities to be disciplined enough to make my life and my house more efficient and organized and so often I miss the opportunities because I am too busy trying to take the easy way out. Yet, always the easy way turns out so much harder and makes me so much less happy. Why, I wonder, does doing what I want make me so miserable and make my life so much more difficult? I guess the real question should be: why can I not see more clearly that doing what God wants me to do is what truly makes me happy even when it requires so much more sacrifice?
I suppose I am just weak, slow to learn, and maybe even a little selfish but, thankfully, God is patient and He will guide me and strengthen me if only I ask. So, I pray, "God help me to rise above my desire for laziness and ease so that I may serve You better and know the joy and peace of doing what is right and good."

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post. This applies to so much more than dishes, think of the effect this would have on chastity or volunteering if people learned that taking the easy way out gives them much more trouble.



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