Monday, November 12, 2012

Dignity and Dirty Towels

A few weeks ago, we were bathing the kids (which we do on Saturday nights whether they need it or not). In many ways this has become an assembly line. Someone undressing them, someone bathing them, another diapers them, then someone else dresses them in their pajamas. While it is fairly organized, it's chaotic too. Trying to accomplish anything with five kids under five is bound to be chaotic. During the hullaballoo, there was a shout for the towels taken downstairs. Not wanting more laundry than necessary, I asked the two-year-old to take the towels to his sister in the bathroom. He was struggling and going pretty slow on the stairs so I sent the twelve-year-old as reinforcements. She promptly grabbed all the towels and diligently ran up the stairs, leaving the two-year-old crying in her wake.

When things settled down before evening prayers, I began to explain to the twelve-year-old that perhaps a better way to handle the situation would have been to let the little one carry one towel and taken the rest. Alternatively, she could have let him hold the towels and then pick him up and "fly" him up the stairs. It was clear he wanted the joy of helping, and it was snatched from him when she took the towels.

Dh, with so much wisdom, chimed in that this is exactly what God does for us. He has no need of our works, he has no need of our help, and yet he gives us the opportunity to chose to work for him. It would be nothing for him to get the towels up the stairs, but he gives us the opportunity to help. He allows us to find true dignity in working for his kingdom. We are the two-year-olds struggling with simple tasks and he gives us wings, and he helps us with the towels, he doesn't do it for us or snatch the towels, because then we would be deprived of the blessing. God, the ultimate father, allows us his children to work alongside of him. With eternal patience he watches as we fumble through tasks much like a child who wants to help. If we remain childlike in our acceptance of the job he gives us, what joy we find in doing these tasks, even in something as little as taking a towel upstairs. 

I feel that joy each time I look at the faces of my children. They are my "little towels" to bring to the father. Caring for them, changing diapers, washing dishes, laundry, endlessly picking up, and the million other tasks that are part of motherhood can sometimes seem like a heavy burden. I sometimes struggle to get them up the stairs. Like the two-year-old, there are others better at the task. Still, I am blessed to have this calling. I am asked to be childlike in the acceptance of the work being given me and to find the inherent dignity in it.

When society tells us it's too much, it's too hard, it's not worth it. I want to shout about the joy children bring. I want to tell them I don't have to do it alone, I have a father in heaven, a mother in the Church, and brothers and sisters to help me.  It's not easy work dragging these towels up the stairs, but the reward is too much to miss. The smile of my heavenly father thanking me for doing this small task. Him picking me up and making me feel valued. I must be thankful for each of the opportunities to love and work for his kingdom.


KHM said...

Love this post!

Unknown said...