Saturday, May 02, 2009

I have to or I get to…

Many years ago my father in law was over visiting when my business phone rang. I excused my self from our conversation and took the call for service, getting the details written in our log book.

“You have to go do a job?”

“No, I get to go do a job”, I changed have to into get to making the point of how lucky I am to have folks trust me enough to let me work on their locks. My father in law had been an hourly wage earner all his life and until that moment I don’t think he ever looked at the opportunity to work as much more than having to.

Don’t get me wrong, he was in construction and was well aware that inclement weather wrecked havoc on making a living. He didn’t plan vacations, those were make up days for rain outs. All the same, there’s an attitude involved which either elevates or diminishes the mundane tasks of living.

I took this photograph of Jocelyne helping Meemaw do the dishes after diner the other night. Jocelyne pulled the step stool over to the edge of the sink and climbed a little higher in order to get her hands in the water. She was all smiles at having been permitted to help do the dishes. I wonder; at what point in life does doing the dishes turn from “I get to help” to “I have to do the dishes”.

When I was growing up I had to mow the yard; it was never “I get to mow the yard”. Why is that? Now the challenge of mowing the yard falls on me, not that I couldn’t hire some kid to do it; but I get to mow my yard. Every other week I get to edge and trim adding the exclamation mark. I think of the aches that go along with being stooped over while walking with the string trimmer and then marvel at how easy it is compared to the inefficient bugger of a tool my dad had me use; thank you, I’m grateful for modern conveniences and power tools.

One last observation and I’ll leave this alone. The other night, just prior to enjoying our diner, I asked for a blessing on the meal and closed with, Amen, JJ quickly jumped in with an “add on” request so I turned the “rest of the prayer” over to him. He wanted everyone to know how much he would enjoy going back to church.

Lucy and I got to take the grand children with us a couple of weeks earlier and they must have enjoyed it, more so than they let on. We keep a set of “Sunday Best” clothing for each of them for when the opportunity presents itself, my own children end up working many Sundays as they too are in business for themselves.

At what point in a young person’s life does going to church become “I have to go” instead of “I get to go”? I ask only because I’m teaching the adult Sunday School tomorrow, our regular Sunday School teacher will be away for awhile and each week a different person is being asked to fill in. The topic for discussion has to do with keeping the Sabbath Day holy.

I’ve learned that Sunday, the Sabbath Day, really is a day of rest from the mundane tasks which need to be taken care of the rest of the week. I get to attend my meetings at church, catch up with friends I don’t get to visit with except at church, enjoy reading a good book, listen to great music or enjoy a meal with my family. The point is I look forward to Sunday and the opportunity to contemplate the many blessings I’ve been given. I get to earn a living the rest of the week, on Sunday I get to say thank you.

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