We here at Little Brown House have had our share of troubling news during the first weeks of January. Little Bear tore his trousers, and my sister and I lost a dear friend. How devastatingly unnatural it is for a person to end his own life. To quote Sheldon Vanauken, we all feel very"sad". Sad and slightly confused. (Though I have promised to mend L.B.'s trousers.)
These are times when the often unbearably mundane tasks become comforting. Housework and homework give me something to do, and they remind me that I am alive. Perhaps I am finally beginning to understand what Aquinas and Augustine mean when they say that existence is good. It is good to be alive.
But since I have a tendency to get stuck in an overly-homeworkish-houseworkish rut, I gave myself the task of doing something new each day. It is too easy to limit myself to comfortable and familiar tasks like washing dishes. I am sure there are people in the world who ought to wash more dishes, but there are also people like me who must stop washing all the dishes. At least for a day. And they should try driving to Church on a different road.
Out of control.
Or not really. (Well, maybe just for me.)
This morning I remembered how a fellow violinist, Phil, would pray before each rehearsal. He always began by thanking God for life and breath. It is a very simple statement, but I find myself repeating it throughout the day. Even on evenings when my washer floods the kitchen floor. (Like this evening.) I am alive and breathing, and I am jolly well alive enough to go clean it up.
It's not so bad, is it?