“I have the end-of-summer blues,” she sighed. These words from a friend who enjoyed a summer of travel, reuniting with friends and family and camping in quiet Michigan woods where poetry became her companion. Now it’s time to get back into her job–a good job that she (generally) enjoys–but not one she envisioned as a career. Everydayness resumes. The very early alarm, walk with the dog, cup of rich coffee, the day’s paraphernalia stuffed into a backpack, city traffic and…people!
I’m slowly tiptoeing back into my own post-summer life. Did you notice that the park bench picture is gone from this site and in its place are the trappings of my life? Notebooks are strewn throughout the house for thoughts that come at odd moments (in what notebook did I write what thought?), coffee is never far away and the computer had better to do its job of recording and saving those absolutely brilliant literary ideas that sneak into the brain. The park bench is packed away for another season.
So why do we do what we do? Is there rhyme or reason for the activities that take the majority of our time and attention? Some—perhaps many—earn money at occupations that simply pay the mortgage and put food on the table with little personal satisfaction. Others have similarly unfulfilling jobs but find bright spots in most days. Stay-at-home moms or dads love their kids beyond measure but groan at yet more grass stains in the laundry and one more nourishing, appetizing dinner to prepare. (Dinners that at least someone may pronounce ‘yucky’!)
This is Labor Day, a holiday usually marked by a last picnic, drive into the countryside or dive into the pool before settling back into the school or work year routine. But I’m determined to accomplish at least one laborious task today, one that I’ve avoided all summer: mopping layers of grime off the common area of our condo entrance. A task that reminds me of my mother’s semi-annual scrub of the cement basement floor. (So comforting to blame it on a mother!) This is not the dust that gathers on a weekly basis and can be easily ignored or, when finally noticed, whisked away with a Kleenex®, but the stuff that is ground in and visible to all. Let’s get it over with!
Scrubbing cement doesn’t bring me personal satisfaction except for I-finally-got-that-done, and now that it’s over, I want to sit with one of those notebooks and a cup of coffee and think about God’s primary call on my life. It’s really pretty simple: start each day intentionally listening to him, then eagerly entering in to the “job,” whether it’s one that brings heart satisfaction or one that simply pays the bills. Come to think of it, if my day has begun with listening, heart satisfaction usually follows!