Standing by the sink, water running, dishes overflowing onto the counter, I felt physically sick. Not because of the dried up nasty that awaited, but because this household task was getting the better of me. My brain screamed, “I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS AGAIN TODAY. OR TOMORROW.”
Serve humbly where you are.
Several years ago, I was working part time at a place where one of the full-time employees was really unhappy with the way things were going. She and I were talking, and she said “I just need to tell myself ‘serve humbly where you are.’ I have a job and a lot to be thankful for.”
It’s a simple statement that took root in my mind and altered my attitude toward tasks many consider drudgery, and situations that make a person feel trapped and stuck.
I will never, ever forget it. “Serve humbly where you are.” There is something about repeating it in my head that opens up a hole in the dark and lets light seep in; when I feel overwhelmed, when I have a burning desire to escape whatever task is waiting for me that I dread. I repeat it in my head when I begin to think to myself, “If I have to ______ one more time, I might implode.” I stop myself before I go reeling to the light-less place of self-pity and think: Serve humbly where you are.
The dishes are part of a bigger picture. The non-stop bickering of my kids is a link in a long chain. The bills, the yard, the mortgage, the car….they’re all part of a life we have built; a life that requires maintenance.
A beautiful life requires the ugly – but momentary – task of taking stinky garbage out to the curb and scrubbing the toilet. Because when I dig in and do what needs to be done, I’m providing my beautiful life the maintenance it requires.