Our light afflictions

My friend Jenny over at Diapers and Dog Fur posted today about being pregnant and achy and then remembering how easy we have it compared to those who have come before us who managed to carry and deliver babies all while doing a whole lot more physical work than we do today.

Her post reminded me of one of the many poems and sweet letters that my Grandmother has sent me over the years.  This poem I keep on our fridge right where I can see it while working in the kitchen.  Every time I catch a glimpse of it, I am reminded of how fortunate and blessed I am to have all these luxuries that allow us to cook easily and take care of our home with minimal effort.  I’m sure many of you have seen this poem, seeing as it’s been around since at least the 1920’s or something.

Perfect Day

Grandmother, on a winter’s day,
Milked the cows and fed them hay;
Slopped the hogs, harnessed the mule,
And got the children off to school.

Did a washing, mopped the floors,
Washed the windows and did some chores,
Cooked a dish of home-dried fruit,
And pressed her husband’s Sunday suit.

Swept the parlor, made the beds,
Baked a dozen loaves of bread,
Split the firewood, lugged some in,
(enough to fill the kitchen bin.)

Churned the butter, baked a cake,
And then exclaimed, “For goodness sake,
Those darned calves are out again!”
Went and chased them into the pen.

Gathered the eggs, locked the stable,
Back to the house to set the table;
Cooked a supper that was delicious,
Afterward washed up all the dishes.

Fed the cat, sprinkled the clothes,
Mended a basket full of hose,
Then opened the organ and began to play
“When You Come to the End of a Perfect Day!”
– By Author Unknown

When I read this poem, I always picture my Grandmother, helping her mother in the kitchen, making supper for her father and 5 brothers.  Growing up on a farm, I can at least remember or imagine having to do all of these things at one point or another, especially the cows getting out part.  Wow, I can only imagine chasing cows in my current state. Ha. I’m sure my mom knows what that is like.

I’m sure on some of these ‘perfect days’ that the hypothetical grandma was also likely to fall asleep in the chair while mending hose, or say “Thank you Lord that today is over. I’m going to bed”.  The lesson that I try to get out of this poem is not that I should be doing more, but that I should be thankful and content with what I have and my abilities.  It makes me think of the daily Billy Graham calendar page that I have permanently up on my kitchen shelf:

In the last essay he wrote before he died, the great Christian apologist C.S. Lewis said, “We have no right to happiness; only an obligation to do our duty.” It is only in our duty that happiness comes.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.  -2 Corinthians 4:17

It’s all about finding the joy in the mundane.  Yes, my back hurts and my belly is getting heavier from this growing baby, but that means that he is growing well and getting stronger every day.  Yes, household chores are tedious, and sometimes I just don’t FEEL like doing them right now, but when the work is done I feel satisfied  – even though I know it will be there again tomorrow.

Thanks Jenny for inspiring me today to be thankful through my aches, which I have been quite whiny about the last few days.  Have a wonderful and ‘perfect’ day everyone. =)

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