“So… what do you do?”
The question has been presented in various forms over the two years John and I have been married. I heard it again last weekend at the wedding we attended.
Before I answer, I ask myself, what do I do?
Thinking over my days I remember the many little things that fill them. Waking up while the morning is still crisp, snuggling with my husband and baby boy, eating breakfast of cereal with banana before John leaves for work, reading my Bible with Troy on my lap… doing dishes, laundry, vacuuming, dusting, mopping, ironing…. planning menus, making grocery lists, having dinner ready when John gets home from work… holding and loving my precious baby boy, kissing poor tiny fingers pinched in baby toys–which will soon be scraped knees and cut fingers, changing many diapers a day, looking into Troy’s sweet little eyes as he nurses… enjoying conversations in the evening, ranging from computer networking to Bible doctrines… watching Troy enjoy his bath, then rocking and singing him to sleep… listening to John read God’s Word and praying together before drifting off to sleep…
“What do I do?” I reply with a smile. “I am a domestic engineer.”
“Oh. Wow.” The eyebrows go up. “And… do you enjoy that?”
Again I smile, unsure if this friend of a cousin understands what I mean in using the little phrase my mom coined when I was a little girl. “Yes. Yes, I do.”
A friend stopped by yesterday. We haven’t seen much of each other lately due to many short trips both of us have made. This was the girl who, in our high school years, was envied by many of the teenage girls in our church. Perhaps because of her naturally tiny shape, stylish clothes, coquettish ways? I don’t really know why we girls think some of the silly things we do.
We had a bit of an awkward visit yesterday. I listened for the first hour while she talked about all of the excursions she and her single sister have been making… weekends at the beach, visiting friends around the state and country. She told me about the cosmetology school she enrolled in, the house she just bought. She laughed as she told me about all the many guys who are just “crazy about her.” She talked of the clothes she’s been buying and the brands she loves.
Then she paused, sat back, and looked at me. “So what have you been doing? What’s up with you?”
“Well,” I began. “Not much. We just got back from a wedding in Minnesota, and we’re finally done with all these trips! I’ve just been kinda recovering from that… you know, laundry and cleaning up and stuff.”
I was met with a blank stare. For a moment there, I felt exactly like I did at fifteen when this same friend, who has become a dear friend in more recent years and with whom I laugh about our high school years now, would talk to me only if she had to, since I far, far from “cool.” She said nothing. Just looked at me, waiting for me to say something else.
I took a breath. “Aaaand, taking care of Troy…. and…. stuff like that.” I laughed. There really wasn’t much else to say!
A little half smile and a shrug. “Oh.”
This was one of those rare moments when I feel that my life is monotonous… humdrum… a little, perhaps, boring? I wanted to crawl upstairs with Troy and hide in a corner. The blank look, the shrug, the half smile. I felt so… insignificant. I didn’t have any wild times to talk about, or guys to report on, or new clothes to sport. I just had the rhythm of my little life, not too full, not too crazy.
She left shortly after that, and I sat down on the couch where my friend, whom I do love dearly, had been sitting. I pulled Troy near to nurse him and thought about the visit. My heart was full of many different emotions, for many different reasons, not all relating to that conversation. But I still felt a tiny bit bruised from the encounter, and was rather surprised at my own reaction.
Then I looked down into the eyes of my baby boy. He was gazing up at me with more trust and little baby love than I ever could have imagined. I ran my hand across his soft head and held his hand in mine. My eyes started welling up.
As I sat there, John arrived home for his lunch break. He came and sat with me while I still fed Troy, and we talked together about his morning at work, my visit, and a few other topics. He put his arm around me and said, “The house sure looks nice. I like coming home when you have the music playing and candles lit.” I smiled at him, happy he had noticed my cleaning efforts of earlier in the morning.
It was quiet for a minute, then John looked down at Troy, stroked his little foot and said, in his cutest little mushy voice, “Isn’t he just the cutest thing?”
As I sat there, contemplating the events of the first half of the day, I became overwhelmed at God’s goodness to me. He has indeed given me everything and so much more than I ever could have asked for. He blesses me each morning with new mercies, a husband’s love, a little baby blessing to love and nurture, and a home to keep for His glory. What more could I want? The day to day tasks of my life may not hold much significance in the sight of others, but I can go to bed each night knowing that my husband considers himself a blessed man, and we are raising our little man to love Jesus with all of his heart. These are the things–the occupation–I have been given, and by God’s grace, I want to be a good steward of them, so that in the end, I can stand before Him and be told, “Well done, good and faithful servant… He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much… In as much as you’ve done it unto the least of these. you’ve done it unto Me.”
Written August 2006