“Teach me the happy art of attending to things temporal with mind intent on things eternal.”
The Valley of Vision
Although I was born in Indiana among the cornfields of the Midwest, I now live with my husband on the tiny island of Guam among the waves of the Pacific. There are many wonders about island life. There are also many lies. There is this one about how I lie on the beach all day sipping smoothies to a live reggae band, breeze in my hair, and enticing novel in my hand. But I don’t.
Perhaps once a month there will be a magical day like that, but most days are ordinary days, days much like anywhere else. I stand in grocery store lines, swerve to avoid hitting people in traffic, and feel too far from certain people I love. I do laundry, make dinner for my husband, and sweep the floor. I yell at Sue (the dog) to stop barking at the poor cat that broke its leg and subsequently took Sue’s favorite shaded spot. And I open my arms wide, hoping to get some breeze. It can be so very hot. Shirts do not last me very long here. Just sayin’.
The island is great for adventure, from hiking, to snorkeling, to interacting with so many diverse cultures. I love it. However, it is not those activities that define my time here. It is playing with my dog. It is kissing my husband, Eric, goodnight at the fire station and driving home alone. It is laughing at the hilarious toddlers we teach in Sunday school who always think Eric is my dad.
There are days I look down into the sink and think, What am I doing with my life? And then God reminds me that living for Him involves the everyday things, the mundane things, the boring things. Sometimes those are the greatest mountains we can know. For several months after college I worked as a waitress and learned that often the most difficult tasks can be sweeping the floor, collecting the purse-trash dumped on the table, and praying for the rude family that left tornado-like debris behind them.
Social media, though beneficial in many ways, seems to pressure us to live on the edge, take the best pictures, and cross off wild bucket-list items. We want to be that cool soul who travels the world and changes it for the better. And yet, it is not climbing Mt. Everest, filling up our passports, or posting pictures with orphan children that proves our tenacity for Christ. Sure, those things can glorify Him, but so can calling up our parents for a chat or baking some cookies to share with the neighbors.
All these “little tasks” are ways to take care of those around me and can be ways of showing Christ’s love and commitment. Am I doing these things with joy, with love for Him, and trust in Him? Sure, wild adventures are great, but it seems to me that what defines a person’s character is not what they do when the epic music is playing in the background, but what they do when it is not.
Those dishes matter. That laundry matters. They matter because the people using them matter. And while Jesus performed miracles for a few years, it seems that He spent most of His time on earth in His dad’s shop. Just remember that.
Audrey Ann Masur is 26 years old, has a degree in English literature, lives on the island of Guam with her husband, and desires to write well for Jesus.
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