I’m talking myself in circles today. Nothing new, at least not for me.
It started with a random thought at 6 a.m., where I pondered the lack of any memory involving my grandmother making daily to do lists. Her day planner was one of those $1 mini calendars, the size of a checkbook, and the only list I ever saw her make was a grocery list or an errand list. These lists were typically on the back of an envelope she salvaged from junk mail.
Here’s the part that really just stopped my tired, so very tried, brain in it’s tracks.
She managed to get a LOT of stuff done!
Her house was tidy (and from what I’ve been told it was tidy when her kids were home….all three of them). She picked beans from the garden, and shelled them. She cooked, from scratch, three meals.
**Okay, in all fairness, I think breakfast was mostly cereal and toast most days, but still….**
She sewed clothes, crocheted blankets, did her Bible study, wrote letters, and….wait for it….was FULLY dressed every day!
Now, I’ve had a couple more cups of coffee and my brain has made a few more laps around in it’s circle and I have a few theories on this matter.
First, the obvious, she had no internet. Nana watched TV 3 times a day. News in the morning (for 30 minutes), news at lunch (for 30 minutes), the 6 o’clock news after dinner sometimes followed by Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. I don’t remember her watching anything else. I remember her momma, Great Grandma Charlie, watching General Hospital. So it’s possible Nana watched that on occasion, but she was probably shelling beans or peeling potatoes or doing something else productive at the same time. She managed to remember all the things she needed to clean, cook, mend, and tend without writing it down. I find that when I’m left alone (totally alone in the house for more than an hour), I can, in complete silence, get most of my house clean without a written reminder that the trash needs to be taken out and the dishwasher emptied.
Second, and I think a little less obvious, is her expectations. She expected a lot from her children. I don’t mean work, at least not just work (like helping around the house). She expected them to take responsibility, to be a participating member of the household not just a hotel guest. She expected friends to be respectful of her time. She did not expect things to be handed to her, nor did she think she was entitled to anything she didn’t work for herself. The greatest thing, in my opinion, is that she had realistic expectations for herself. She knew how to say no, without feeling guilty. She never felt the need to offer up reasons for her no, she just said no. I’m not saying she never did anything she didn’t want to do, because I’m certain she did, on numerous occasions. But she never undertook any task if she knew it would hinder her ability to do the only thing ever on her to do list. Glorifying God/Living For Jesus.
That was it. Taking care of her family was her way of living for Jesus. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, gardening, mowing, sewing, serving, working, building, crocheting, writing….. all that she did was to accomplish that one task.
My to do list is full and long. I have three day planners plus several notebooks. I rarely know if I’m coming or going. I’m often late, or operating in “urgent mode”. When I look at my list of things to do, I see a lot of the same tasks that could have been on her list if she ever made one.
There is a glaring difference however. I am expecting, anticipating, and working hard towards a “good job” and pat on the back when I’m done, if I ever get done, with all the things on my list. When it’s not completed, I feel I have failed. Failed at life, failed at being an adult, failed at being a wife and mother. I am not living for Jesus, no matter how much I want to believe that I am. I am living for myself. I am living and working for praise and acceptance from my husband, my children, my family and friends {even strangers!}.
Here’s the other kicker. No matter how much praise I receive from them, it isn’t enough. Like pouring water into a colander, I am never full. Me and my to do list are sitting with my back to the well with living water, whining about being thirsty.