The Day Off and the Quotidian Tasks

The Day Off and the Quotidian Tasks November 3, 2012

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.

I suddenly remember what it was like when I had all the children home, and I was both going to school and working full-time. My current quotidian tasks are wildly different from those days. I would instead face of piles of laundry, multiple activities to coordinate, gigantic shopping and  cooking tasks so there would be something to eat the rest of the week, Sunday school lessons to prepare, and often people coming over for a shared meal later that day. Again, how easy it was to say, “nope, just not going to do it.”  Only one or two weeks of that, and life would spin out of control.

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.


Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Carolyn Allbritton

    Thanks for reminding me of the blessings of doing tasks that only I can do, and that I have the resources with which to do them!! Also, I may be under the bus…can’t seem to rid our new home of the few packed boxes which are obviously things we can live without, as we have been doing quite well for the past four months.

    • Having moved so many times, I’m also aware of the danger of unpakced boxes. I’ve discovered for myself that if I don’t unpack it on one move, I really need not to take it with me on the next. But I still have way, way too much stuff.

  • Carolyn Allbritton

    Thanks for reminding me of the blessings of doing tasks that only I can do, and that I have the resources with which to do them!! Also, I may be under the bus…can’t seem to rid our new home of the few packed boxes which are obviously things we can live without, as we have been doing quite well for the past four months.

    • Having moved so many times, I’m also aware of the danger of unpakced boxes. I’ve discovered for myself that if I don’t unpack it on one move, I really need not to take it with me on the next. But I still have way, way too much stuff.

  • Rebecca Kennedy

    Quotidian tasks does not describe my reading your blog~even though this is a new endeavor, I know it will b enjoyable:) Please continue to use your gift to write…

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Thanks! And I’ve spent a lot of hours in gentle laziness today–which may not be so bad, but those onions really need weeding! See you tomorrow.

  • Rebecca Kennedy

    Quotidian tasks does not describe my reading your blog~even though this is a new endeavor, I know it will b enjoyable:) Please continue to use your gift to write…

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Thanks! And I’ve spent a lot of hours in gentle laziness today–which may not be so bad, but those onions really need weeding! See you tomorrow.

  • Vicki Attaway

    Quotidian tasks, I must admit the word is outside my usually current vocabulary. But the concept is not. I’d like to watch this hoarding show that you speak of. It might make me feel better about my junked up garage. It might even help straighten up my cluttered mind. That is was concerns me more than anything

  • Vicki Attaway

    Quotidian tasks, I must admit the word is outside my usually current vocabulary. But the concept is not. I’d like to watch this hoarding show that you speak of. It might make me feel better about my junked up garage. It might even help straighten up my cluttered mind. That is was concerns me more than anything