The Little Things

Trying to get ready for all the busy-ness of summer and travel and other blessings, we’ve faced a series of those inevitable issues that temper the blessing of home-ownership.  Little things going wrong.  The bake element in the (1959) oven falling apart.  A leaky shower.  Leaky toilet.

I read this morning somewhere (I can’t for the life of me find it again) about a business two college students launched to do chores for students, presumably taking care of those little annoying necessities like laundry and house cleaning, maybe cooking and some light yard work.  I briefly thought to myself Man, that’s what I need.  I need to outsource all this piddly stuff so that I can focus on doing what I need to be doing.  Imagine what I could accomplish if I didn’t have to try and figure out how to install a new bake element.

Then it struck me that, if I could characterize one troubling aspect of younger generations, this is it.  A disinterest in the little stuff.  Wanting to obsess about the Big Picture while the Small, Very Real Picture goes to hell in a hand-basket.  Wanting glory without the effort necessary to achieve it.  Wanting to live life without doing all the things that actually go into living a life.  When our world consists of endless selfies and odes to moments of personal greatness, it’s easy to fall prey to our own propaganda, to believe that our lives consist or should consist only of moment after moment of rapture, delight, joy, glory, extra-ordinariness.

The truth is the majority of life is ordinary and simple and basic and almost mind-numbingly so.  It’s fixing the oven and the shower and the toilet, making sure the family is fed and clothed and the bills are paid on time and all the other stuff that nobody really likes, yet nearly everyone spends the majority of their time tending to.  This is reality.  An endless selfie montage of buying toilet paper and washing dishes and picking up dog poop.  It is an explosion of ordinary-ness, an avalanche of routine.  Day in, day out.  This is what makes us who we are.  How we deal with the mundane, whether we allow it to overwhelm us to the point where we can’t or won’t function, or whether we plod through it, grateful for the reassurance of normality.

If I outsourced the mundane necessities of my life, there might be precious little left to fill the time.  In the process, I lose the character-defining and maintaining discipline of dealing with reality instead of the idyllic parody of reality it’s easy to project for oneself.  If you don’t pick up your dog’s poop, how do you retain a proper sense of identity?

So thank you, God, for the blessing of the routine and the mundane and the boring and the essential.  Thank you for the blessing of providing these things to others in my family, and thank you for the family that provided them to me and modeled them to me when I was younger.  And help those college entrepreneurs to find a better business model to pursue, so that others can be blessed to deal with their own realities more as well.

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