“The trouble with being the Prime Minister’s sister is, it does put your life into rather harsh perspective. What did my brother do today?
He stood up and fought for his country.
And what did I do? I made a papier maché lobster head.”
-Karen, Love Actually*
More than once in the past couple of weeks, someone has asked me what we’ve been up to, and I’ve answered with information about Jem’s bowel movements. Of course, after a few seconds I realize that I’m in totally inappropriate territory, and I scramble to come up with something more interesting to say: I made a new ID tag for the diaper bag. My subscribe-and-save items were delivered from Amazon yesterday. We got a new plastic swimming pool for the back yard.
Sometimes I’m embarrassed at how small and boring my life is. Sometimes I want to relax by reading some status updates and blog posts, and I end up feeling like a loser because everyone else in the world is working on book edits, promoting their hobby-turned-side-business, chairing important committees, traveling to exotic locations, or tweeting back and forth with celebrities, while I’m sitting around in a shirt that smells like spit up, eating chocolate chips out of the freezer.
It’s times like these that I am tempted to feel sorry for myself and to despise the lowliness of my life. I struggle not to believe the lie that says, You are wasting your days with all this boring stuff.
Our ladies’ group at church is doing a summer study on contentment, and it was a good thing for me to read this passage in our lesson last week: “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him…So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.“
This house, these kids, they’re not getting in the way of my life; they are my life. These are the days that the Lord has assigned to me, to steward faithfully and not to squander. As lowly as my daily schedule may seem, it’s full of opportunities for dying to self, for trusting the wisdom of God, for preaching the gospel to myself and my two human barnacles. And in light of eternity, what is more important than that?
Furthermore, who would I delegate all of these ordinary moments to if I had the chance? I want to be the first one to see the little speck of tooth peeking through Jem’s gums, to keep track of when he ate his prunes, to hear the way he belly laughs at Abby’s antics. I love that I have an all-access pass to the world of Abby’s imagination, that I know the names of her various stuffed friends, that I am the one keeping tabs on all the cuts and bites and bruises decorating her active body.
The daily grind of a stay at home mom of little people is often boring, repetitive, unglamorous; hardly the stuff of Broadway or Hollywood. But as Pam said in that lovely Office finale, “There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things.”
And that’s surely true. But the most beautiful thing of all is the reminder from Corinthians: Even in the most boring, most tiresome moments, I’m there with God. Jesus himself served lunch to hungry (and ungrateful) crowds; he washed dirty feet; he had his naps interrupted by fearful cries; he mediated pointless squabbles. He knows the beauty and the boredom of ordinary life, and he promises to live it with me, using all those seemingly pointless moments to work the miracle of making me more like him.