I’m hustling around the house, tackling the busy in an otherwise quiet evening. I clear off the remnants from another week night’s dinner in what seems like one swift move, head towards the stairs as I pick up the pair of shoes that have been sitting there since who knows when, take each step up at an extra-fast pace, turning into the bedroom as I toss the shoes onto the closet floor. The night is no where near over. I have lists to tackle, blog posts to write, laundry to sort through. Why am I the only one up and moving?
I walk into the bathroom and catch myself in the mirror. I’m just so tired of the doing, I say. I look extra long at my face, tired from the day to day.
Tired of the dinners I cook after a full day of work that don’t always come with a thank you. Tired of the cards I send that go unacknowledged. Tired of the sweet notes I leave that don’t get returned. Tired of the gifts I spend weeks, even months, thinking about and gathering that get tossed aside as quickly as they were opened.
Tired of always being the one to do while desperately yearning for someone else to do for me.
I crumble underneath my comforter, exhausted from the effort. I feel drained as my tank sits at empty. It’s been several weeks since I have last felt full and I have nothing left in me to give.
I need to be filled up, too, I whisper to the silence around me. I need the cards, the sweet notes, the words of affirmation. I need the night where I’m told that dinner is being handled. I need the gestures, the going-out-of-the-way’s, the occasional flowers just because.
Why do I do? I question my actions. Why do I do if I don’t get anything in return? What’s the point?
I’m just going to stop, I decide. I’m going to stop writing the notes if I know they aren’t going to write one for me. I am going to stop buying the gifts for unappreciative people. I am going to stop cooking dinner. We can each fend for ourselves. Then they’ll see, I determine, my pride swelling up.
If I stop giving, then I stop expecting and my feelings are safe from hurt. It’s logical. And right now my heart can’t take any more but logical. I lay there, my eyes welling, deciding to just quit.
Where’s the joy? I hear Him stop me mid-thought. Where’s the joy in your giving? Where am I in all of this?
He has a point and I am choked by the interruption. Where is my joy? Why am I giving? If everything I ever did went unacknowledged for the rest of my life, would I still do it?
It’s a hard to question to answer as I lay numb between the sheets. In that moment, I don’t want to get up and do anymore.
If Jesus’ sacrifice went unacknowledged for the rest of eternity, would He still do it? The answer is obvious and I am put back in my place. Joy, I think. I’ve got to remember joy.
I go back downstairs, attitude adjusted. I turn on the faucet, ready to tackle the sink full of dishes, trying to pour grace on the one who sits on the couch. Before the first plate is rinsed off, he stands up and walks up behind me. I’ll take it from here, he says.
I sink into grace, my tank filling up. I have been released from this chore and I am told to walk away. I can go tackle my list, my laundry, my writing. Finally, I am given a break.
But I decide to stay, the two of us crowded in a small kitchen. My joy decides to stay and help and the tank keeps filling. I realize that it’s not just the receiving, but the joy in the giving, that fills us up.
And I soak in that moment one dish at a time.
By Jordy Liz, Wide Open SpacesLeave a Comment