25 May 2006

Muddled in the mundane

I am not from a family who embraces the virtues of routines. This is putting it very lightly. We didn't even have a clock until I was in first grade and my mother had received tons of complaints from teachers about my tardiness, thus forcing us to join the temporal world.
Deadlines and daily tasks are struggles for me. I fight with myself to see these things as worthy of my time. I would rather see them as mundane, ordinary, less valued than whatever it is that I wish to be doing.
I used to be able to get away with this as a single person, but as a wife and mother, I can't. These daily tasks structure our days and my poor husband and daughter suffer when I decide that making dinner (which *gasping in surprise* just so happens to occur every evening) is below me this evening. My congregation suffers when I decide to forego the office to stay home and work on sermonizing here or put off a visit to hastily cook the aforementioned unplanned dinner. These tasks I have muddled in my mind thinking of them as mundane. They are not mundane; they are ordinary.
In ecclesial life, ordinary is derived from ordinal meaning numbered. And when one numbers something, it is given attention, position, and place. It is anything but mundane.
I am reminded of the Psalmist, "Lord, teach us to number our days that we might gain a heart of wisdom" (Ps. 90). I am learning that it is in paying the attention, seeing the position, and setting the place, even on ordinary tasks, that I focus not on my own fleeting desires, but on God's larger purpose for me. Oh, to gain a bit of wisdom along the way!
Once again, Ann V. has meditated upon this far more deeply and eloquently than I ever could. In her post here (which is only part 1 so be sure to read parts 2-5 in the links at the bottom of the post), she relates her daily tasks of laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc., but I think her meditations apply to any daily tasks, be they baking or filing or typing or visiting or praying.
These days are indeed a gift from God. Help me to see this in every task therein, Lord. Teach me to number my ways. Lead me to a heart of wisdom.

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