I know this is the 7 in 7 challenge, but I’m 2 out of 7 ain’t bad…for this mother of two. Better luck next year
So I was reading that there Ecclesiastes a few weeks ago and it couldn’t have been more timely. I had (have) been feeling so blah about the day-to-day of laundry/dishes/insert sitcom housewife problems here/dreams feeling far away/worrying about braces for our kids in 10 years/praying that I don’t turn into a nagging wife/wondering if I’m crazy/blah/blah/blah. Blah. Alot of days have felt like I’m brushing my teeth while eating (botched homemade whole wheat) Oreos. It’s not like I was thinking of throwing in the towel, but all the motions and emotions were starting to seem a little pointless.
I’m going to wash these dishes, so that we can eat on them, so that they can get dirty again, so that we can do it all over in three hours. Perfect. I’m going to make a list of goals and work really hard, so that I can try to accomplish them and then die. Fantastic. Ya great, let’s do a bunch of meaningless stuff until we all turn to dust and then our kids can repeat it all until they turn to dust. **My inner cynic was eating. this. up.**
Back to Ecclesiastes. The Bible. I was bleary eyed at 5:30 in the morning, hoping to find some little feel-good boost to get me through my pointless Groundhog Day (classic Bill Murray…google it). There it was. I ended up reading the whole thing. I actually had to re-read parts of it because it was like reading my own thoughts (which keep in mind were pretty negative right about then).
I’ve been toiling. We all are.
Anything we do here is ultimately toil. And, if we’re doing those things “unto” ourselves or others (we, who cannot fill souls), they quickly become pointless exercises, producing discontentment, bitterness, anger, jealousy and frustrated disappointment. It’s “feeding on the wind” (this phrase is all over Ecclesiastes), something we can’t catch and that could never satisfy.
This isn’t news. I mean, how long have humans existed? But oh my word, how quickly do I forget this?! We’ll go with a generous figure of hourly. We are here for this time. Not just from this date to that date, but for this time. It’s a calendar versus a purpose! Of course history will repeat itself and the brokenness of the world will seem staggering. Dishes will need to be washed again and again. Kids will need to be taught the same thing over and over. We will disappoint ourselves and the people around us too many times to count. But that is not the end.
There is a purpose in this time we have. A chance to feel deeply. Opportunities to dwell and be. Moments to experience the entire range of human emotion and to see our Maker in it all. I pray to speak wisely about the time I’m given to dwell in, not romanticizing the past or the future, hoping for it or wishing to return to it. What a waste.
This is my toil. My very own.
This is the time. Here is the place. These are the people. These are the dreams, the passions, the problems and possibilities uniquely bent around this chunk of days. What will they hold? What will I do? Only God knows. It was purposed from the beginning.
Yes, life sometimes feels like a broken record, but it isn’t. “There is a time for everything [every purpose]” (Ecclesiastes 3: 2-8
). I can, at times, feel like a carbon copy of every woman before me, doing tasks that seems entirely uninspiring, but it will accomplish something entirely unique…and it’s supposed to. It will spark something in me or another (for better or for worse).
It puts the wonder and sacred weight back into whatever our toil is. Yes, we’ll all end up buried in dirt or have our ashes scattered (or gathered if you want to sit on somebody’s mantle), but for now, we’re all here. Right now. For now. God is here and wants to speak and reveal and teach and heal. Make room for “the times for everything” in our toil. Feel the gravity and the pleasure of purpose. It’s all ours!