“Live your purpose.” That’s the motto for California Baptist University, where I went to college. I’ve transitioned through several purposes at the ripe old age of twenty-five, but there’s one purpose that I never wanted to live (or do): chores. I had a moment in middle school when I decided one of my motivators to become a famous violinist was…no chores! I was sure those people didn’t do laundry, or vacuum, or dust, or…
Mom loves chores. Okay, she doesn’t love chores, but she loves creating beautiful living spaces. Unfortunately (for me), beautiful living spaces involved chores. Hence our collision course.
I was obsessed with violin in high school. I needed (i.e. obsessively wanted) so much time to practice that..who cared if my room was tidy, my floors were swept, my laundry put away, etc.??? Mom always came back with “When you get married, you’re going to be responsible for how your whole house looks, not just your room!” I wasn’t married at that particular moment, and had no plans to be so in the near future, so I didn’t see the big deal.
In college I actually did need to study a lot after I changed my major, but my disinterest in chores remained exactly the same. As did Mom’s interest in them. Not only was she interested in chores, she was now interested in my cooking expertise, too! Having a boyfriend only intensified our “remedial” household sessions. “No guy wants to sign up for only spaghetti and mac-n-cheese dinners for the rest of his life!” It took an engagement ring to get me (mostly) on Mom’s side.
I find it extremely ironic that now my only job is caring for our apartment. My return to a real job was dubious at best, so the main point of occupational therapy was problem solving how to do basic chores in spite of my stroke deficits. Even now, tidying that 700 square-foot apartment I talked about last week takes up so. much. time.
Our apartment isn’t the only space that feels small. Social media has a killer instinct for making people feel small, too. Between Facebook and Instagram, I’ve seen four friends start fancy new full-time jobs just last week…and I’ve lost track of the number of newly-finished grad degrees. Also, baby apocalypse.
My “chore career” felt minuscule compared to all those significant updates I scrolled past. I desperately needed to figure out what counted and grow some roots. Right on cue, I read this in my morning devotion: “I’m doing the very best I can, and I’m doing it at home, where it counts.” Don’t get me wrong, this post is NOT a plug for quitting your job or dropping out of school to devote yourself to chores. That would be a little crazy, to put it politely.
But that idea did remind me that Mom was right all those years! Doing my best with our home is important. This counts as a purpose I can live, even if I’m often disconnected with the outside world. True, most people also have demanding purposes at school or work – or at both – and they count, too. I hope (and pray) this blog is one of those extra things that count.
So, to glue everything together, this post IS a plug for two simple questions. I hope they help you ground yourself and de-stress just as much as they helped me!
- Are you doing the very best you can? That was “YOU,” not him, or her, or they, or any other pronoun. Just you!
- What counts to you? Is that the place you’re doing your best?
Not too complicated, huh? 😉
And now that you’ve made it to the end of this long post about work…Happy Labor Day!
P.S. Please clean your room.
P.P.S. The quote was from a devotional paraphrasing Psalm 101:2.