I was watching one of those hoarding TV shows recently. I suppose they relax me a bit. This morning, as I was pondering and praying through the day, I became even more away that I am just one step away from seeing my own life spiral out of control as do the lives of the hoarders. One day when I will not do what are occasionally called the “quotidian” tasks–those things that must be done routinely no matter how much we dislike them–just one day of refusing to do them can lead to a downward trajectory that is difficult to stop.
Because of computer problems, I had gone for several months recently without dealing properly with my receipts and other routine financial tasks. They built to huge levels. The thought of tackling them nearly made me ill. Armed with a working computer, and a determination to deal with this, I am now nearly fully caught up. The other side of tackling them meant freedom again. It felt good.
It was kind of like my garden fountain outside. The water had turned green and algae filled. Although I could have stuck a dollop of bleach in there for a quick fix, that is bad for the pump and the environment. It is far better to scoop the water out, feed the nearby plants with, for them, nourishing smelly water, and put fresh back into the fountain. A routine task, one that must be done about every two to three weeks, and when I don’t do it, the fountain stops up and loses all its beauty.
Today I also face a number routine, quotidian, tasks. It’s a struggle to get going. A second cup of tea beckons, my Saturday favorite radio shows are on. I glance out the window and see an onion bed that needs weeding, seeds to pick and store off a flowering plant that I’d like to be able to give away, house plants that need to go back outside for what I expect will be a few more weeks of warm weather, personal papers that need to be sorted and filed or tossed, a box of old photos that I need to sort. Really, a gentle day.
And then it hits me how those who were in the path of Superstorm Sandy would love to be able to spend a day just doing those quotidian tasks. Nothing is routine about their lives today. Huge, giant messes slap them no matter where they look. Inadequate gasoline supplies mean rationing and interminable lines; electricity is yet unrestored in many ears. The hugeness of the losses are beginning to sink in and anything looking like “normal” seems impossible to achieve again.
How can I best help? Well, clearly I can send money for relief supplies, but that is about it right now. Those who have expertise in these areas are on site–my own presence would make things worse. But I can deal with my own day, praying for the suffering, giving thanks for this moment, and finding joy in the routine.