One day while I was sitting on the couch, folding laundry, drowning in piles of clean clothes, I caught myself thinking about how much I was enjoying the folding of laundry. Almost immediately, I wondered how I could possibly enjoy the work I was doing. Laundry around here is endless. There are either piles of dirty clothes in the laundry baskets or piles of clean clothes ready to be folded or piles of newly folded clothes ready to be put away. And once I get it all put away, I turn around in satisfaction, only to find another dirty sock lying on the floor.
We all know the work of a mom is anything but glamorous. A large part of the job description involves taking care of dirty things that need cleaning: floors, walls, toys, clothes, dishes, noses, and the worst of all, bums. The hardest part of the job is often not in doing the work, but the realization that the job is never done. I don’t get to leave the work place, I don’t get to set a pile of papers on the “done” pile and walk away. There is always more and it is usually always the same tasks that need to be done, several times a day.
But to my surprise on this particular day, I found myself enjoying my work. I realized this contentment came from God and him alone. When joy is found in the most unusual places, we know God grants this as his gift to us.
One morning I came across a passage in Ecclesiastes 3 that reassured me of God’s gift of satisfaction in my everyday, mundane tasks.
12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.
Now, I wouldn’t be speaking the truth if I told you I find satisfaction in doing laundry all the time. Most of the time, I try to put it off. The idea of doing the work I have to do is often worse than actually doing the job. I do, however, find much satisfaction when the job is completed. Sometimes I like to walk in and out of the room a few times where the laundry was once piled, just so I can admire the empty space.
A friend posted a quote on Facebook this week that illuminated an idea of the ordinary and mundane becoming something extraordinary.
Now, finding “wonder” in doing laundry might seem like a bit of a stretch. But what if I allowed my kids to play in the laundry baskets while I folded the load of clothes? What if they ran under the sheets, giggling, while I lifted them to get out the wrinkles? Is this not making the “ordinary come alive”?
My kids love to point out things they marvel at: funny shapes in pieces of fruit, objects made from taking a bite out of their sandwich, a tall tower they built with blocks, new piles of snow on a wintery morning, the moon set in a dark sky or twinkling Christmas lights on a December evening. These ordinary things are always brought to my attention with a, “look, Mommy!” as they express their wonder. To me, it is simply ordinary. Sometimes I’m even annoyed that I have to take my eyes off what I’m doing to take a look. But once we’ve lost the wonder of the ordinary, I think unhappiness begins to settle in, and we lose sight of the beauty of the things right in front of us.
Although the quote urges parents to make the ordinary come alive, really, it is often the kids teaching us to pay attention and see. I love that my kids can teach me to wonder again. They force me to look twice at the ordinary things and marvel at how beautiful God has made this world for us to live in.
“Look, Mommy!” Look.