Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Housekeeping A-ha

Sometimes I feel like I really catch a clue more slowly than other people. I am sharing this a-ha moment with that feeling. One of those, "I coulda had a V-8" moments. As in, how could I have missed this obvious truth for so many years?

So here it is.

I have known for a long time that it is better to enjoy what you do than to do what you enjoy.

(Think about that for a moment.)

Well, the other day a good friend shared a portion of the book Ourselves, which she is reading with her teen:

The office of Kindness is simply to make everyday life pleasant and comfortable to others, whether the others be our pets which we feed and attend to, our dog which we play with and take for a scamper, our horse which we not only feed and care for, but cheer and encourage with friendly hand and friendly word, or our family and neighbours, rich and poor, who offer a large field for our Kindness.

I have been attempting to have a better attitude as I keep the house running lately, and have been reading (and reading, and reading) books on contentment, housekeeping, showing love, etc., hoping that I would bump into something that would turn a light on in my heart where housecleaning is concerned. I have not been able to enjoy what I do rather than do what I enjoy where housekeeping is concerned. I have walked around wondering how to regain the excitement and pleasure of making a home that I felt when I was a new homeowner. So when I read this quote, I read it through the lens of my own personal struggle.

And I received instruction. I tend to look around the house and think of the people who have live in the house and make the messes, and subsequently a little resentment builds up. What does this have to do with kindness? I realized I have not been kindly in my keeping of the house. I have been more the person who demands her rights and doesn't want to do any more than her "fair share", whatever that is. (Have you ever tried to figure out "fair share" where housecleaning is concerned? It gives me a headache very quickly.) I have known for a long time that this is the wrong approach, but have been stymied in my attempts to figure out what the right approach is.

It's kindness!!

Kindness is making everyday life more pleasant and comfortable for others. If that isn't homemaking, I don't know what is.

My new idea, which lines up with enjoying what you do rather than doing what you enjoy, is this:

Cheerful housekeeping thinks of the people who are coming after, rather than the people who were there before.

(Okay, so it's not such a great catchphrase. Perhaps I will think of a better way to phrase it in the next few days. I just wanted to get it on the blog so I wouldn't forget and go back to my Eeyore-style housekeeping ways.)


Willa said...

Mother Auma, once again I could have written almost the same thing as you about the resentment of "picking up after". The catchphrase works for me, but if you come up with something please share.

G.L.H. said...

Wow! Is this timely for me--I'm going through this right now, too. I think the catchphrase is very apropos. Thank you for sharing.

Mother Auma said...

Thanks, ladies!

I haven't come up with anything better, so I guess the phrase will have to work!

denise said...

I have never enjoyed housework, but I think you are right. It is a way of showing kindness---of serving others, without expecting anything in return. Well, at least, the "not expecting anything" is a goal to shoot for in my spiritual growth. (Luke 17:7-10)