Not so Simple

One more mess to clean up and one more cookie to make.

I’m a pitiful blogger.

And right now there is SO much to blog about!  The Olympics have started.  School is coming up (though that means nothing to me).  We’re getting ready to fly on an airplane. Me… alone… with the Pickle… in my lap.  You see how much good stuff I could be writing about?

Yet, here I am.  Lost for words.

Which I guess leads me to the fact that even attempting to live the most simple life… is not really all that simple.  Life, no matter how you divide up your time, is always one playdate or laundry date or movie date or fill-in-the-blank date after another.  And somehow time always slips away from you.

This weekend we had two events to attend on Saturday, after which I came home more exhausted than my child who spent the majority of one event in a swimming pool.  Sunday morning I sang in the kids worship at church, then babysat my sobbing toddler the rest of the service.  But that was all ok, because I got to go on a sweet date with my husband to see The Dark Knight Rises.

I did not, however, get my necessary weekend stuff done.  None of it.  Nada.  Mayo. (that’s Chinese for none)

I didn’t blog.  I didn’t read the weekend part of my devotional Bible.  I didn’t do my laundry.  Or my husband’s.  Or the Pickle’s.  I didn’t clean the sink, or wash the dishes, or pick up the living room.  I ran away from home all weekend and when we returned Sunday night I was, to say the least, overwhelmed.

Because my husband needs clean clothes.  My child needs clean diapers (that’s another blog).  My kitchen needs clean dishes.  And my sanity needs a picked up living room.  So I did it all.  In about 2 hours I did a day’s worth of housework.  My husband kept wanting me to come in, sit down, watch the Olympics with him, eat, relax.

But I just couldn’t.  I had to get it done so I could relax, you know?  If it’s not done, relaxing isn’t relaxing at all because you’re constantly thinking about everything you have to do!

So what’s simple about that?

As I buzzed around the house like a released wind-up toy on linoleum, I thought back to my grandma’s day and I began to wonder if there was anything truly simple about it.

No, they didn’t have as many choices on the grocery store shelves as we do, but they didn’t have as many restaurants either.  So they had to cook every night.  And boy can I tell you how NOT simple cooking is.

They didn’t have dryers.  At one time they didn’t even having washing machines!

Haha.  When I lived in Taiwan I had a washing machine that only had, what I call, a swisher and a spinner.  I would drag a hose from the sink to the ‘machine.’  (75% of the time the hose would come unhooked from the faucet and I would flood my kitchen)  Fill it up with clothes, soap and water.   Let it swish around.  Empty it through a pipe into a drain in the floor (which also would flood).  Wring out the clothes.  Refill it, this time omitting the soap.  Turn it on again.  Drain.  Wring.  Repeat.  Drain.  Wring.  Repeat.  Until the soap was all out of the clothes or I was sick of the process.  THEN I would stick it in the separate spinner which I never got loaded evenly.  So it would knock and bang around loudly for ten minutes or so, followed by a day (or two or three) outside my window on a clothes line in the tropical humidity.  It didn’t take me long to locate the nearest laundry lady, and she got my loyal business for the next three and a half years!

Let me tell you.

There was nothing simple about what humans had to do before washers and dryers.

But in spite of all that I am still convinced that there was a simplicity to the predictability of my grandma’s life.  Why?

I guess when I think about it, the mundane tasks were for loved ones.  The day’s work that only ended when your head hit the pillow and started all over again the next day was meaningful and brought peace to the lives of those you were serving.  What she did wasn’t for her.  It was for everyone else.  To delight her children with cherry pies.  To bless her neighbors with baskets of fresh picked vegetables.  To give a hard-working husband less to worry about, a warm meal, a clean house and a place of peace to come home to…  Aha!

That’s it!  That’s what it was.  That’s why it seemed so simple.

It was a time of serving others.

When you do something with a joyful heart of giving (as opposed to a greedy heart wondering when you are going to GET what you want- a break, some help, a maid, etc) there is a built in feeling of accomplishement.  Purpose.  And peace.

When I am running around trying to get everything done in one night with Monday looming darkly overhead I tend to turn inward.  And I mutter.  Anyone else mutter?  And it’s usually not nice.  And if I keep muttering, I become bitter and spiteful and downright angry.

But when I remember why I’m doing what I’m doing.  When I remember whom I am doing it for… then I whistle.  Or sing.  Or have imaginary conversations with my grown-up daughter.  Telling her that life will not always look simple or feel simple and it will probably never be simple again.

But no matter what we’re doing and where we’re going… we can make it simple.  By simply serving.

And skipping a day or two of blogging to do more important things.

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