My husband does housework. I am extremely grateful. So, the other day, when he quietly bemoaned that a lot of times he doesn’t see the point of doing the dishes anymore because they just keep piling up, or the point of laundry, because it multiplies exponentially, I totally empathized. It actually started an interesting dialog between God and I.
Some people wonder about the meaning of life. I wonder about the meaning of housework. And God’s answer made me laugh. I didn’t want a sugar coated explanation that housework was what a good Christian wife (and husband) did, or the proper activity to provide a nurturing environment for growing babies. I didn’t need a pep talk to keep up the good work because I’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have two little kids, I’m pretty sure my home will maintain a sense of healthy, disorganized chaos for another decade, at least. I needed something pragmatic and real.
And the good Lord delivered. I heard his small, gentle voice ask, “well, why don’t you bag it all up, and toss it out?” “Why don’t you get out the really, big, black bags, chuck in those pots and pans, all those dirty socks, and throw them out?!” “Lord, that is ludicrous!” (I thought, respectively, of course). I could never do that. I am way too cheap. I’m the type that cuts paper towels in half before using. Dishes and laundry are not disposable. They are meant to be taken care of and used for years. (And my husband and I both have clothes still from high school, so that is years!)
This got me thinking. Very few things in life are disposable. Outside of paper plates, napkins, (hey we even reuse plastic silverware), we are called to be good stewards of what is given us. And that means take care of it….consistently…. like all the time…. like never-ending. Like the dishes and the laundry. And the time we have each day, and the relationships that enrich our lives: the children and spouses that are given to us, on loan, to love and nurture, while we are given time on earth. And the words we say.
All of these things are valuable and worth holding onto and taking care of. None of these things are disposable.