Finding joy in the journey is my quest in life. I love the notion of enjoying the small moments, soaking up delight from the ordinary pieces of everyday life. But, I also struggle with this. I tend to get bogged down in the drudgery and repetitive nature of life. The cycle of laundry, dishes, sleepless nights, farm work, bills and bookkeeping seem to me a downward spiral into a big black pit of a joyless existence. There I said it, the day in day out can be depressing at times, no? I read scripture and know that the habitual acts that make up our lives are actually meant to be a strength to us and to bring us joy and peace in a deep manner. If that’s really the case (and I’m not disputing the words of the Lord, just trying to talk myself through this lesson, okay?) then the laundry, the dishes, the sleepless nights, the farm work, the bills, the bookkeeping should all be filling my cup and adding to the joy I experience in my life.
Safe to assume I’m deep in the trenches of winning this battle raging within myself. The battle to find contentment in routine and habit rather than frustration and angst. The following is an example of one day, one experience where I was able to glimpse the peace that can come from doing the everyday things with purpose, happiness, and an intention to spiral upwards.
Maybe this message speaks to you. Maybe you and I are in the same trenches, learning to find real peace, joy, and contentment. If so, I hope you are inspired and encouraged.
If not, just move right along, nothing to see here. Unless you want to share your success story! That’s always welcome–but none of this “oh I’ve never experienced that and I just love to keep house and have set routines and thrive off of the small and simple things that make a family tick.” None if that nonsense. Maybe it’s not the laundry or dishes, but I guarantee you have some routine, everyday thing that makes you want to pull your hair out. Don’t deny it . I won’t believe you anyways.
On to the story.
Summertime is farming time and on a cattle ranch that means hay, hay, more hay, and hauling hay. Hauling starts out fun and exciting–“we get to ride in Dad’s semi!”–and quickly spirals downward into “it’s so hot! Can’t we get out and play?” I’m getting better at driving the semi, which helps the fun factor tremendously. A more confident driver means we can sing silly songs or play eye-spy without fear of upsetting the entire load of carefully stacked hay bales.
One thing I still can’t do is unload the semi, or load it for that matter. It takes a certain amount of finesse and coordination to simultaneously drive the tractor and spear a stack of hay while not knocking the trailer over or tipping the rest of the hay over either. Since I lack this skill set, I have very little to do while the hay is taken from the semi trailer to the barn which means the girls and I can have little adventures in the mean time.
Not that you can tell from the pictures, but there is a fun pile of rocks just laying around in a miniature mountain that is perfectly challenging and fun for my girls to climb.
While Grandpa unloaded the semi, we climbed rocks and took pictures.
See my hair all tucked up under my hat? It really is very hot when moving hay and the AC in the semi is pitiful, hence the hat. Plus this was day five or six since washing…
But lookie here! Hat’s off and my hair actually looks pretty nice.
Almost like a blow out even.
And on to silly faces. It’s the little things, like my hair miraculously coming out of a hat looking fab. Or kids who love to take selfies and videos. Or a conveniently placed pile of rocks that make hay hauling a happy experience.
I’m glad Henley caught this picture just before I took my phone back to go fetch another load of hay. Sometimes moms aren’t in the pictures much, but I’m glad I was in these.
Dusty, hot, sweaty jobs aren’t very much fun on their own merits; however, if we can add our own elements of silliness they can become the sweet memories our family culture is built upon. I hope my girls will remember the funny songs we sing in the semi, the rock pile we climb, the pictures, the happiness of mom. If I could just be sure they will remember all the good stuff, maybe I wouldn’t worry so much about the hard stuff. The heat, the dust, my cranky attitude–I surely hope these are not the things my girls remember.
Is there a magic ratio of positivity to negativity that allows the good to cover the bad? Or is there some way I can learn to love the pervasive dust coating my sticky arms and face? Someone please tell me that my kids will remember and appreciate all the good things and maybe not forget, but at least diminish the hard stuff like mom’s and less-than-happy-go-lucky attitude.
Here’s to spiraling upwards, a choice not a happenstance.