A quiet day at camp makes me long for more quiet days at camp.
Granted, today will only be temporarily quiet, because in a few hours, a hilarious and day-brightening group of junior-high students will return to bounce around the property like tiny, sheared lambs. Though this peaceful respite will be relatively brief, I cannot keep myself from hollering up some soulful thanks to the Maker, because a few hours of stillness seem like an island-of-wonderful when you've been swimming through relentless waves of busyness.
There is one particular lesson that I’ve been learning this year. Since it’s not rocket science kind-of-stuff, it’s probably old news to you: the reality that infrequent bursts of energy aren’t what can pull the plug on our passion, but rather the constant drumming of tasks and unfinished business and the laundry list of what’s around the river bend. It’s the plugged toilets and unchopped vegetables and rooms to rearrange. It’s the dishes that have been sitting in our sink for a full week, because despite what Disney would have us think, serving plates and coffee cups don’t dance on tables, speak with a British accent, and just will not bathe themselves. It’s also because in addition to our own used mugs and late-night-snack cereal bowls, there are another ninety sets of dishes to wash in the camp Hobart, which makes the previous truth seem acutely depressing.
My friend, Kristi, bonding with the camp Hobart.
I, like every reasonable American child, dream of dancing juice cups and coffee pots that sound like Angela Lansbury. Sing, dangit - and please turn on the dishwasher when you’re through.
What is striking about the nature of these everyday hurdles is that while mine might involve sending (then resending) invoices and cleaning up hot chocolate spills in the Dining Hall, yours probably include a host of other duties that drive you to the very same wall I’m scrambling up. None of us are exempt from work. It’s an inevitable part of life on terra firma, and we all have some load to bear – even if it is simply brushing our teeth or walking to the corner store for toilet paper (which would take a very long time up here, and probably require crampons).
That said, I don’t think that true life is about what you do. It shouldn’t matter if you are a young account executive with Prudential or if you are spending your sunset years working the customer service desk at JCPenney. It sure feels good to have a job that is fulfilling and soulful and gives you a great financial or emotional return on your effort - that's a no-brainer. However, life is not made significant by what you do. Rather, your spirit is revealed in how you do what you do, and this is what I constantly find myself hung up on.
Do I do my work peevishly, with a dispassionate and resentful spirit? Am I visibly bitter and visibly tired? Or rather, do I treat my work as a gift, as are each of my days. Do I move through it bearing a hopeful countenance, with grace in my speech and humility in my actions? Am I visibly joyful, albeit visibly tired?
Tiredness is a fact. Attitude is a choice. Moments are opportunities.
So, give me just a couple more hours, then throw some soap in the Hobart and let’s get crack-a-lacking. Lady Lansbury won’t wash herself.