“Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”
—Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa)
Life gets hectic, doesn’t it? I find myself rushing about distracted, especially when I am trying to accomplish important goals or necessary homemaking tasks.
Recently, I was in such a mood or, shall I say, frame of mind. One of my little grandsons asked quite innocently, “Nino, why are you mad?” His comment surprised me, as I was not mad at all, just . . . busy.
I decided to slow down and reflect on the way I go about my day and the tasks that Jesus has asked of me. Jesus is my employer (if you will allow me to say it that way), and so I had to think carefully about the joy that may be missing from the work I was trying to accomplish.
I want to have the intentionality of peace and purpose. I have been trying to work with Mother Teresa’s words in my heart and in my spirit: “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” So I knew I had to start small.
My mother was the kind of homemaker that I would like to become through my efforts in this new year. Let me tell you a story that will at once amuse you and give you a sense of what I am aiming to be for myself.
When I lived at home, I worked at St. Dominic Hospital, the same hospital where I had trained in nursing. I lived at home waiting to be married to my husband, as he was still in flight school and not able financially to be married. I worked the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift.
Most evenings when I came home, Mom would be in the den in front of the ironing board ironing while watching the Johnny Carson Show. One night I took notice of the article of clothing that she was meticulously ironing. It was my Dad’s boxer shorts. To this day it makes me smile.😊
I asked Mom why she would “waste” time doing such a task. Her answer is one I should have kept in my heart, but in my immaturity I didn’t. (After all, I was from the generation of “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar.”) She said, “It is never a waste of time to do a job well and to do so for the ones we love.”
So this morning, I gave myself the challenge to be better and more peaceful in the tasks in front of me. I want to take joy in the simplest of chores. I want to strive to see the beauty in everyday homemaking.
I have always worn an apron throughout the day. It is like a uniform for me, and its practicality when caring for small children is evident to anyone who sees my apron at the end of the day, as it is quite soiled from the day’s work.
On this morning, I went to the dryer, grabbed a clean but wrinkled apron, and was about to put it on, ready for work. Instead, I decided to get the ironing board and iron out of the hall closet and iron my apron. It took less than five minutes to do, but the effects of that small intentional effort made me feel more cheerful and more ready to cook breakfast for the children and my husband.
After I washed the dishes and put the large items in the rack to air dry, I opened the window over the sink. The steam rising off the freshly washed dishes as the cool morning air came in through the window was lovely. Again, it felt intentional and purposeful and gave meaning to the task.
Those of you blest enough to hang cloth diapers out on the clothesline will certainly relate to the feeling of accomplishment and the joy of seeing those diapers waving in the sun.
We are truly blest to be homemakers. As homeschooling moms, we are uniquely situated to bring joy to every task and to do so every day. I thank the Lord for this gift, and I want to strive to better appreciate its bounty.