Posts Tagged ‘Service’

In Ordinary Time

On the TarmacFirst of all, I don’t know the man in the photo.  This was taken on January 16, 2009, as I sat in a waiting area of Terminal 3 in Pearson International Airport.  Not that I didn’t care to know his name, you understand.  It was fairly impossible to do that, given that this very thick glass that served to keep us inside the building and several hundred feet separated us.

I think it would have been great to know his name, though — to simply thank him for doing his job and being out there in the cold while I sat waiting for my flight to board.  Standing there in the middle of the tarmac, in his bright, yellow jacket, with two orange pylons and those orange things he was waving around to direct the pilots who were landing — he was nameless to most (if not all) travellers passing through the airport that day.  I was grateful to have him there doing what he had been trained to do in order to help people in their travels, most of whom he too did not know at all.

Do you ever feel nameless and inconsequential — almost like the fly on the wall the other flies don’t really mind?  Most of our world is all about “extreme” this or that, “larger than life!”, more, more, more — supersize that for me with a side order of overly-large fries.  Those who have a lot want more and those who do not have much are tempted by envy of the conspicuous consumption of those around them.  And in the frenzy of grabbing those “Today only 50% off!” whatchamacallits before that other lady with the feverish look in her eyes gets it all, we can very easily forget that we are human.  We are people who need others:  to love, to care for, to talk to, to be with.  The more we focus on ourselves, the lonelier we are.  The more we look inward, the more alone we become.  We, unwittingly through our own efforts, close others off.

But this man who stood in his yellow jacket in the middle of the tarmac was there at his job doing a service to others.  Sure he was getting paid for it.  Who says it’s a bad thing to get paid for work done?  A person has to earn a living and this is just as good a job as any.  What is striking is the fact that there really is no recognition for those who, like our guy on the tarmac, are doing a service that passed unnoticed by most people who benefit from it.  We do not need to be in the limelight to feel important.  You and I matter.  You and I make a difference in the world through the work we do, even if we sometime or most time feel that we are not thanked enough or given enough compensation.  The work that goes unnoticed by most does is usually that which helps to sustain everyday ordinary life. And most of the time, we live in this ordinary time in our own ordinary set of circumstances, one day at a time.  It is as it should be.  Feasts and thrilling events happen every now and then, but the “meat” of our lives lie, not in never-ending excitement but in the moments that pass by one at a time, to the rhythm of a heartbeat.

So what about those diapers you need to change again?  And those dishes that need washing again?  And the vacuuming that needs to get done again?  And the laundry that waits in a silent pile — again?  They will always be there and it is for you and for me to be grateful that they are.  They remind us of those around us whom we love.  That’s worth every bit of the work we do “behind the scenes”.


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There Snow Place Like Home

There are piles and mounds of the white stuff all over the place: in front of houses, in backyards, on the sidewalks, parking lots and on the sides of the roads. I spent about two hours in total yesterday shoveling the stuff off the ground into ever-growing mounds of old snow which is now more like crunchy, hard ice. I also spent a good deal of time on a step stool beside our full size tan van brushing the snow off the roof with a broom. It is a blue broom that stands taller than me and is quite a neat tool for getting the snow off the our van. I have to confess: I was kind of embarrassed to use it at first. After all, who uses a broom to clear snow of a vehicle? Well, I realized, I guess we do, especially when the vehicle happens to be a 12-seater van!

That was yesterday. Today, the weather forecast for the next few days looks like this:

weather-forecast.png Sigh. Great, more of the same, I thought, imagining the great fun (sarcasm is creeping in at this point…) I would have trying to reach up and across the roof of the van to push the snow off. And where else could I possiby put the snow that would be shoveled off the ground? The mounds of snow were getting so high, it was getting more difficult to add onto it.

But —

The snow is here because it snows in winter in this part of Canada. Our family has been in this country for eight years and eight months. Four of the children were born here. We came as immigrants and are now citizens of this great country that we live in. I think of the many friends we’ve made over the years and I realize how blessed we are to be where we are right now. I’ll take the snow and be happy about it.

And —

The full size, 12-seater tan van that sits in our driveway came into our lives on September 14, 2005, the day my husband brought it home from the dealer. It replaced the minivan that only seated eight (we were up to 7 kids by then…..) and which conked out on us during our family camping trip that summer. I had vehemently resisted the very idea of driving what I considered then to be a “monstrous” van. I sputtered in annoyance at the thought of having to drive such a big “thing” all over the place. And then I test drove it with the kids…….and never ever looked back again. Every child now had a proper place in the van; everyone belonged somewhere. My children could now sit comfortably and safely without feeling like sardines all the time.

I appreciate that van so much because it reminds me of every single child in our family. When I get asked if we’ll still have more kids, I often point out the fact that the van seats twelve, and now there are only 10 seats filled. I am grateful to have this van to drive around because it is there for my family and our needs. So I will happily clear the van of snow any time — but will not say no if my husband offers to do so for me. dscn0770.jpg

It is funny how something one considers a burden can be another’s blessing. In yesterday’s National Post, this news item appeared regarding cleaning and how more women were doing housework than men. Not really much news there — except for when it is mentioned that the luckiest group of people in the Canada are the ones who do not have to do any housework. If I believed that to be true, I would then have to say that I must be one of the most unfortunate Canadians. Imagine: a husband who is out of the house 10 to twelve hours a day plus eight children to take care of. That must be a “lucky” Canadian’s idea of a nightmare!

In truth, I consider myself to be extremely lucky and blessed to have the family I have. There are clothes to be laundered, meals to be cooked, beds to be fixed and a home to be cleaned because there are people who live in this home. They need caring for and help. My husband works hard at his job, and I do the same at mine — which happens to be keeping house and mothering our children. I dare say it is quite a privilege to be able to care for our children. They are not perfect, of course, but they are our children. We welcomed each one happily and are grateful for every single one of them.

I do not feel like a slave for doing housework because it is a conscious choice and commitment I have made as a wife and mother. Besides, when you do things for love, how can something like housework even be considered a burden? There are days, of course, when it will feel burdensome and tiring and a pain — but life is not just about feelings. At the end of the day, knowing the truth helps me to see what everything is all about. And that is something I am always grateful for.

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