Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We Work Hard Enough, Already

I was buying groceries this morning. I bought pre-made chicken meatballs. They are just delicious. I can’t make them for that price, so I am happy to relieve myself of this domestic chore. My husband loves them, and I was telling this to the checkout lady when she said, “Any shortcuts we can take, right? I mean, we work hard enough already.”

We work hard enough, already. Well, yes, we do. I felt a kinship with this woman who I knew worked hard enough. She is always at the grocery store when I go. I know the hours that she must pull. How gracious of her to have enough compassion to equivocate my daily grind with hers. Most people assume that they are busier than others, that the value of their time is different. This singing, dancing grocery lady drew me in for a moment and we agreed that meatballs should not be a tipping point of anyone’s day.

The truth be told, I have a difficult time buying pre-made anything. Maybe this is why her words were so precious to me. I feel like it is cheating. I speak to wonderful hostess all of the time who tell me, “Work smarter not harder”, but it falls on deaf ears. There is something inside of me that wants to suffer through the process. If I am too happy while my husband is at work, then I am not earning my stripes. See, what in the world am I talking about?

So, where is my pleasure? Sometimes, I do things that I do not want to do, that are expected of me for no other reward than the knowledge that I did it the hard way. That just sounds crazy when I write it.

I told you, yesterday, that I went to see The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis, on Halloween. Today, I have thought about the concept of pleasure right next to the concept of distractions (yesterday’s post).

This is a letter from Screwtape to Wormwood, regarding pleasure and Wormwood’s human patient.

“Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. Hence we always try to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable.”

There are so many joyful areas of my life that I have turned into tasks. They once were shiny and new, but now resemble my old running shoes. They are tired, worn out, discolored. I long for a new pair of shoes, ones that have not seen the growing disinterest of each mile. Maybe I am just listening to wrong voices.

I only have one conclusion. I need to break up with some of my pleasure stealers. Today, I haven’t done anything because it is normal or expected. I have enjoyed all of the tasks of my day, and accomplished a lot. I say good riddance. I am opening my heart and day to the pleasures of God. I will take them with both hands when they come, and I will not think twice about serving pre-made meatballs.

Do you have pleasure stealers that you would like to break up with?

BTW, hop over to Exemplify and check out November’s new issue. It is hot off the virtual press.


  1. Very interesting and thought provoking!

  2. well, work can be a pleasure stealer for me - I would looove to break up with work!! haha

    But - since I can't do that ... can I break up with laundry???

  3. I am going to blow your mind...ready?

    My pleasure stealer is my laziness.

    Things I usually enjoy are no longer entertaining because my lazy self wore them out. I'm breaking up with being un-busy any moment I get between school and bedtime. I've taken huge steps toward that goal in recent months. Eliminating the useless {or the surplus of useless things} was phase one. Now I'm adding the meaningful again, bit by bit.

  4. Great post! I felt the same way about frozen foods. Like I was cheating! Good grief! What was I thinking!? At MOPS yesterday they gave us all a button that read, "She Did What She Could Do." I wore it all day yesterday!


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