Monday, February 23, 2009

Pushing Rocks

Lately, I have been feeling a little like Sisyphus.
Sisyphus was compelled to roll a huge rock up a steep hill, but before he could reach the top of the hill, the rock would always roll back down again, forcing him to begin again.[2] The maddening nature of the punishment was reserved for Sisyphus due to his hubristic belief that his cleverness surpassed that of Zeus. (From Wikipedia)

I do laundry, but it just piles up almost as fast as I can put it through the machine. I wash dishes, but my sink always seems full minutes after I wring the dish rag. I change countless diapers, I wipe endlessly runny noses, and I am always trying to decide what to prepare for the next meal. On top of all that, there is school. Another Math lesson, more Spelling tests, It seems just when I think I have that rock pushed up the hill and have a good routine going, the rock tumbles back down.

This February has been particularly difficult for me. I am not getting enough sleep because of a little one who likes to play at 2 a.m., I am worn down from a flu bug staying too long in our house, and I am trying to kick our schooling into high gear after a much too long hiatus because of the adoption. Maybe it is being overtired, or maybe the sickness, but the last month or so I just feel like that rock is not just falling back down the hill, but flattening me in the process.

Then it hit me. I really am Sisyphus. I am condemned to a meaningless task that I will never accomplish. I have been given this sentence because, like Sisyphus, I think I am more clever than the gods-- more clever than God. I have been neglecting my prayers, especially my morning offering, and allowing pride and self-reliance into my spirit. I have been so busy doing it all, I haven't been trusting in God.

It isn't until we recognize our dependence on God for strength that we will stop pushing that rock up the hill. When we realize we are not as clever as we think and ask God to align our will with His, we will also realize that we are not working at a task that will never be accomplished. We are climbing steps to heaven. Only when we put ourselves at God's disposal will we stop working at meaningless tasks and be working out our salvation.

This weekend a dear friend, who doesn't realize what a mentor she has been to me, told me about a prayer she has been praying. It is a simple one line, "Thank you for everything Jesus." Through this simple prayer we give ourselves perspective. We realize that even the difficulties we face were given as a gift to help work out our salvation. When I am awakened in the middle of the night, God has given me a gift that, if I choose to unite it to Him, will in some way bring me closer to Him. I must abandon my will for His. I must thank Him even for the tasks that seem most difficult or bothersome to me.

The amazing thing is that this little bit of perspective makes all the difference. I still have piles of laundry, the kids are all still sick, and I was awake more than asleep last night. Instead of allowing this to overwhelm me, I am depending on God for strength. I realize I am not clever enough to do it all so I am praying more. When I do this, I no longer feel condemned to pushing rocks.

Someone be kind enough to remind me of this next February?


Unknown said...

Thank you for the reminder...I needed it!

Kim H. said...

Nikki, you have no idea how I needed your post. You are such an insightful writer and you have a very, very wise friend.

Yes, Jesus, thank you for everything! Those few simple words make it a whole lot easier just to walk away from that rock.

And I'll be sure and remind YOU of this next February if you remind ME, kay?

Hang in there honey -- I missed seeing you yesterday, but Marian told me you were all still sick. :(

Maria (also Bia) said...

This was very beautiful. As mothers, very much of what we do is endless . . . especially when the kids are so young.

When I get overwhelmed and feel like Sisyphus, I then make my goals very simple: today I will fold and put away all the laundry. That's it. Just one goal . . . and when that simple thing gets done there is a feeling of satisfaction.

It does get better . . .