Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Daily Grind

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” —Colossians 3:22

The high school I attended required four years of Latin instruction. I appreciate the value of that discipline now, but back then it was a grind.

Our teacher was old school: She believed in drill and repetition. Repetition, repetition, repetition! “Repetitio est mater studiorum,” she intoned over us several times a day. “Repetitio ad absurdum,” we muttered under our breath.[1]

I realize now that that most of life is simply that: repetition—a round of ordinary, dull, uninspiring, lackluster things that must be done again and again every day. “Repetition is reality...our daily bread,” Kierkegaard said. But, as he went on to say, “It is the bread that satisfies with benediction.”

It’s a matter of taking up each duty, no matter how mundane, humble, trivial, or onerous and asking God to bless it and put it to his intended purposes. In that way we take the drudgeries of life and turn them into holy work, freighted with unseen, eternal consequence.

Gerard Manley Hopkins said that, “a man with a dung–fork in his hand and a woman with a slop–pail” are doing the work of God if they “mean it that way."

Knowing my heart, I’ll have to “mean it” several times a day.  

Teach me, my God and King, 
In all things Thee to see;
And what I do in anything
To do it as for Thee!
—George Herbert    

DHR

[1] She did, however, enliven some days by leaping up on to her desk and reciting passages from Caesar’s Gallic Wars!

No comments:

Going Light With a boulder on my shoulder  Feeling kinda older. —Springsteen "Thus says the Lord: ‘Take heed to yourselves,...