A Healthy Dose of Perspective

I wrote this a few months back because I had lost my perspective and needed to recover a balanced frame of mind as to why I do what I do, day in and day out.  On occasion, I pull it out again and review it as a reminder when I realize I’m starting to lose track of my true purpose.  Today I again found myself in need of some reminding:

“On days like this I have to remind myself why I cook, pack lunches, wash the dishes, scrub the toilets, wash the diapers, bathe the kids, do the laundry, pay the bills, do the shopping, sweep, mop, vacuum, take out the trash, empty the potty chair, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseam. I have to remember that I don’t do these things for their own sake. I don’t take the trash out because the trash can needs it- I do these things for the love of my family. When I forget this key detail and allow the chores to become the end in and of themselves, turning into the paramount objective, the to-do list becomes overwhelmingly long and begins to feel completely futile at best.  At worst, my loss of perspective causes me to fail to prioritize appropriately and I end up putting chores above my family and my own wellbeing because “I’m so behind, I’ve just gotta push though and get it done!”  This causes my to-do list to ultimately become the altar on which I sacrifice the very reason I have for doing all these things in the first place.  If I lose my perspective, my opportunity to love through acts of service turns into an albatross around my neck that negatively affects myself and the ones I love.  If I can remember that with every stroke of the dish scrubby I’m not just cleaning a dish but also saying “I love you” to my family in a small but significant way and investing in the collective happiness, health and wellbeing of our family as a whole, then the monotony and depression of doing household duties day in and day out starts to fade. Every act of service is just one little deposit of many that add up over time in the Love Savings Account that I have the honor of keeping for my family. And if, while doing these chores, I can truly see and relish in the REAL reason I have for doing them in the first place, I can then guiltlessly afford myself the time to put the chores on hold when the occasion arrises and take a break to indulge the little tug at my leg asking me to come color, or accommodate the little voice begging me to come sit at the table for company during snack time, even if it means I won’t be able to cross off every last item on my list. The daily grind of a homemaker isn’t pointless- it is often the sum of all the little things that show how much you care. But on the other hand, daily chores are not the ultimate point in life either. All that I do is a meaningful way to express my love, but, as my brother-in-law says, I must make sure that my humanBEING is not lowered to merely a humanDOING.  I must take care to ensure that the many opportunities I have to express my love through acts of service do not turn into distraction, ultimately compromising my relationship with the ones I love.  I’m positive that I won’t look back at my life while laying on my death bed and thank God for all the days my home was spotless and in perfect order.  Rather, I’ll be thanking Him for the fingers that made all the smudges and the beautiful faces that truly made the house a home. In the end, my children aren’t going to remember how often the mirrors gleamed, but rather how often I was attentive and nurturing to their spirits and took the time to hear their little hearts. My husband won’t relish the hours spent polishing the toilets, but rather how often I sat with him to hold his hand and stroke his hair with his head in my lap.  I am thankful not only for the opportunity to serve my family daily, but also for the honor of having a family to prioritize over the sense of obligation to keep a perfect house (HA! For any of you who have seen my home, you know that though I have the best of intentions, a perfect home is a hopeless aspiration!) I am so in love with my wonderful babies and my incredible husband. Thank you for all that you are, and for allowing me to love on you the best I know how, and for understanding when I fail to successfully conquer the never-ending to-do list. Thank you for being the best, most valuable detail of my life, my truest sense of accomplishment, and the most genuine, valuable and palpable expression of love in my life.”

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