It’s Groundhog Day!
That’s how I feel upon arising from my slumber – where I can fly by simply bouncing, visit with dearly departed loved ones and solve any crisis with the greatest of ease. But when my feet hit the floor I am brought back to reality and sometimes there doesn’t appear to be much to make me smile or to feel accomplished. But then, by rote, I begin the routine…
Brush teeth, smirk in mirror (stick out my tongue if my bed-head is really bad), put on my frumpy knit dress (the stay-at-home-Nana uniform of choice) and pad downstairs.
There it begins.
- Switch out the two-way light switches (I’m OCD and the little levers have to be in the correct position – up=on and down=off) – check.
- Straighten all five bar stools at the counter (didn’t I do this right before bed last night?) – check.
- Cold coffee in coffee pot (yuck) – check. Wash, rinse and fill with hot water (for my hot tea) – check.
- Wash the tiny ‘Whiskies’ (Simon’s word for whiskers) off the bathroom sink – check.
- Fold Rick’s blanket and put away with his pillow (he ‘naps’ before going to bed) – check.
- Fix breakfast for whichever kids are here today – check.
- While they’re eating, load the dishwasher and clean out the sink (BTW, why am I the only one capable of rinsing a sink?) – check.
And this is just the first 20 minutes…you get the idea…right?
As such, I’m often reminded of the Brother Lawrence book my mother gave to each of us siblings with this inscription.
‘Read at least once a year!
“The Practice of the Presence of God” teaches you just that. No matter what your lot in life. No matter how mundane the task. Place yourself in the Presence of Christ each and every day – all day! Much like St. Therese’ ‘little way’, this wise monk writes of offering up our daily life to God – all of it. Peeling potatoes? Do it for God as a prayer. Washing the spills off the kitchen floor for the umpteenth time? Do it for God as a prayer. When you begin to realize that there are two ways to do the same job, you are on your way to utilizing Br. Lawrence’s great advice. The task, after all, must be done. Do it with a frown and your day will be dark…plus you don’t get a ‘gold star’ from the Big Man. Do the same task as a gift to Him…reap the reward of a pleasant day AND just perhaps some tangible good that our human brain can comprehend will come of it. If not there are eternal implications. There’s also ‘extra credit’ if you do this without whining about it to anyone later!
I would be lying (so no ‘gold star’) if I said that I accomplish this goal every day. It is, however, my ultimate goal. And the benefits are many because, not only do I feel a sense of having accomplished something great by doing something small, I have taught by example instead of by word. As a recent Sunday Gospel exhorted, don’t live life like the Pharisees.
“So practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.” Matthew 23:3
So who’s with me? Let’s resolve to do our best, no matter what the task, and reap the benefit of not only getting the ordinary done, but also of having ‘prayed by action’. Next time you feel like you’re reliving ‘Groundhog Day’ – smile in the mirror and laugh at the absurdity of cleaning poop off the floor and having it count as a prayer!
NOTE: Oh irony of ironies – as I was formatting this post, Rachel – one of the 23 month old potty trainees, decided to be an overachiever. She removed her diaper but forgot the part about sitting on the potty. I did, however, remember to smile and offer up my cleaning duties – I have yet to find where she stashed the unsoiled diaper she took off during her efforts but am glad to have found her offerings!
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“I walk before God simply, in faith, with humility and with love; and I apply myself diligently to do nothing and think nothing which may displease Him.” ~ Brother Lawrence
Read more about Brother Lawrence here.