At Least There Will Always Be Housework

At Least There Will Always Be Housework June 20, 2019

I’m about to run out the door into the day, but this was a long and pretty interesting read. You’re going to “peak” professionally a lot sooner than you think, and fall into decline, and then die. What are you going to do about it? Be miserable? The author was headed in that direction and then paused to reconsider. Really, it’s very good, and also depressing, but good.

My first thought was to wonder about the professional lives of women. I don’t know anything about “peaking” but I imagine it would be just as hard for a woman to leave the success and acclaim of a career and go to home to putter around. I would hope, though this is probably not an allowable consideration in our exhausted and de-gendered world, that a lot of the psychological trauma would be relieved if she did always nurture her material, physical connection to her house, as most not-in-the-one-percent of the world have to do. Like Rihanna, who, I read this morning (and honestly, I have no idea who she is) is learning to write a P on her calendar sometimes, which means Personal, which means she doesn’t stay up all night “working with her team” but instead flies to Barbados for a concert or something—good luck with that, honey, someday going to bed at 8 o’clock is going to be your wildest and most pressing desire…where was I?—oh yes!

It is a serious pain to always have a stack of housework in front of you, whether you work in some other capacity or not. But the material and spiritual obligations of housekeeping can, and should, always pull you out of yourself. So when you leave the office and go home to sweep the floor, you still have some way to tether yourself to the essential reality of being human, which is to work. It strikes me that a man, unless he takes up cooking or carpentering or gardening or something like that, could just sit in a chair and let his mind go wild with grief upon having to walk away from his office, never to return. But what do I know? Really, I don’t. I’m just curious.

My second thought is that the local church is the best place to find psychological relief, provided you actually get to know some of the people who go there. Working on and in and around the church, troubling to care about the spiritual and material needs of other people, scrubbing the floor, trying to figure out how to install a security camera, signing up to usher—the myriad opportunities to do small, unknown, unseen tasks not just for yourself, or even for other people, but most especially for Jesus, who sees and knows, is one of the peculiar kindnesses of God.

My third thought is to rejoice over the curious and terrible mystery that the body and mind, withering like a seed that will fall into the ground and die, are, in the provident hands of God, raised to everlasting glory. The world sees death and failure, pain and anxiety. But God’s power stretches into the grave. The Christian promise is that nothing is lost, or wasted. Everything that feels like it is slipping away is really only going into the store of treasures, waiting for you, only as they really are and not as you thought they were when you were laboring away, frustrated, dissatisfied, with just the hint of disappointment.

On that note, I will extend myself trying not to trip over the pile of shoes I should have put away last night. See! There is always some worthwhile task, no matter your age or prestige!

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