Someone hands you a big box wrapped in pretty paper and says, “This was custom-made for you. It’s a lifetime supply, so you’ll never run out. Enjoy!”
When you excitedly open the box, you find it stuffed all the way to the top with stacks of “chores” lists detailing all the nasty, yucky jobs that need doing, but no one else wants to do.
Open the colorful little card taped to the top, and it tells you that all this should be done willingly. Not only that – you should volunteer to do more crappy stuff that’s not even on any of the lists. And do it with a smile, so everyone thinks this is what you live for and you can’t wait for more work to do! Oh, and the sooner you get started, the better.
This, apparently, is what happened to me the moment I popped out of the womb. Like a good little girl, I did and still do the required work, but I’ve never been grateful for it, and I’m still not. I wish I knew how to be.
There are some people – many, in fact – who are much better at facing this kind of thing cheerfully. They’ll tell you what an honor and a privilege it is to live that kind of life. They’ll tell you how fulfilling it is, taking on all the crap work every day for the rest of your life. They’ll tell you that things could be much worse, and you should be grateful for the opportunities (unpleasant chores) you’ve been given. They’ll tell you how humbling yourself through service makes you a true Master, and all that stuff.
Yeah … whatever.
I don’t feel very “Masterful”, and taking on more work doesn’t exactly put a song in my heart or a smile on my face, especially when all I get for my hard work is – surprise! – more hard work. It just feeds on itself and never, ever stops. I don’t see the point of it, other than keeping me busy and someone else being grateful for not having to do the work I end up doing. Yay for them, I guess.
Sorry, God/Life/Universe/Flying Spaghetti Monster – gratitude may be “the attitude”, but I currently lack the aptitude. You’re better off depending on the Sappy Happy people for that kind of stuff.
Writing this post reminded me of two occasions when I received other “gifts” I didn’t really want. Both times I was about 8 years old.
· A thick, plain black Bible with tiny print and no pictures, given to me by a church elder in the foyer of the church building as my pleased parents looked on.As he held it out to me, he said, “I’m gonna give you this Bible here as a gift. It won’t cost you anything. Wouldn’t you like to have it?” I couldn’t very well refuse it, so I said, “Not really, but I’ll take it anyway.” He laughed, but my parents were horrified. (This was before I learned that lying is considered polite and necessary in some circumstances.) It wasn’t that I hated the Bible – it just looked like homework to me. I was content with singing church hymns at that point in my life.
· A book of etiquette given to me on Christmas by my mother.I know my face fell when I unwrapped it, so she made sure I felt plenty guilty about it by scowling and telling me how costly it was, and saying it was “for my own good”, and I should study it every day to learn how to “handle myself in public”. Great, more homework. Just what every 8-year-old wants for Christmas.