Sunday, August 14, 2011

On thankless jobs

It all started when I was setting my camera on the table to be ready for the next hummingbird visit.  I really couldn't responsibly do that without wiping the table first.  So I did.

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And as I did, I went back in my mind to the day we bought this table, and thought, "I wonder if the sales guy noticed we had a toddler in tow and another soon to arrive.  Because it really would have been nice if he had pointed out that the groove along the edge was a magnet for peanut butter and all manner of goo, and that the white ledge around the bottom was an invitation to wipe your messy hands off."  I mean, Ben was still only making a mess of his high chair.  How were we to know?

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I also thought, "And it would have been nice if he had mentioned that the white paint was going to chip and reveal the dark underside, and really wouldn't seem so crisp and clean and romantic for more than a few days."

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Not to mention that, though it was hard to imagine children who would reach the white pedestal, it was an absolutely perfect place to rest the grubby feet that would inevitably find it on their way to the floor.

These are the roots of thankless thinking.  An unobserved moment of work that would go unnoticed and unappreciated, and seemed like, perhaps--well it would have been nice if it had been unnecessary.  But wait.

Another thankless job.  Only thankless if left that way.  After all, it started with a glance at the beautiful flowers that tirelessly color my world, and the promise of frequent visits from our hummingbirds.  It led me to notice the remnants of food that grace our table every meal of every day thanks to the God who provides, the farmers who grow, and the husband who works.  It gave way to the thoughts of kids who are healthy enough to play and come to the table with dirty feet, and who are too carefree to be bothered by smudges and crumbs and spills.

Honestly, there are days when I think no one could be more appreciative of her life of privilege than I am.  Yet my thoughts are never more than a split-second shy of heading down the road of ingratitude.

After the cleaning of the table and the unfolding of the thoughts and the photographing--with camera yet in hand, I looked out the window.

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It seems to me
there are no thankless jobs.
Only thankless attitudes.

7 comments:

Joan said...

I had the exact same table (in green) when my girls were little. Oh, the stories that were hidden in the cracks and grooves. =)

Betty said...

I have a round table with the same pedestal in the middle....and it still hold the marks of our girls childhood. I can´t bring myself to paint over it yet. :)

Julie said...

i didn't notice any of those marks or peanut butter when I was there :) Just warm, friendly folks that were fun to be around. I also agree it is all about our attitude, great post!

StitchinByTheLake said...

Beautiful - picture and thoughts. blessings, marlene

Crazy Sister said...

Seriously, you have hummingbirds? That's incredible!

Wow.

Tracy P. said...

Yes, seriously. There probably five or six of them chasing one another around our backyard pretty much incessantly these days. They seem to love to come in August. I like to say they come by to wish me a happy birthday. It's delightful!

Life with Kaishon said...

I really love how you write Tracy. So perfectly said.