Another school year has started. As a dad with a kid in Elementary school, that means drawing straws with my wife to see who is making his lunch and figuring out the drop-off and pick-up schedule for the next day. The sunny summer days of spontaneity are becoming the crisp autumn days of routine. Sometime soon we will roll out of bed, see the rainy winter days of monotony, and mutter quietly to ourselves: “Here we go again…”
The everyday things of life have a way of cascading into annoyances and frustrations. Like the morning school routine. It’s one thing to do it in the first week back, it’s quite another to do it in mid-February. And it happens everyday.
It’s not just the school routine. There are so many everyday things in life that spark annoyance and frustration. Like doing the dishes, folding the laundry, cutting the grass, making dinner, paying bills, and the list goes on. The everydayness of these things suffocate us. We will soon daydream about vacations to Hawaii as we hear the rain bounce off our window for the tenth straight day, and the monotony of our everyday lives will leave us muttering: “Here we go again…”
When those muttering moments come (and they will), we need to allow these scandalous words from the Apostle Paul break through our muttering like the Kool-Aid Man breaks through walls:
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Good one, Paul.
Is this a joke?
Rejoice always? Rejoicing is for the moments we are relaxing in the sun with sand between our toes, not when we are scraping burnt food off of a frying pan.
Give thanks in all circumstances? Giving thanks to God is for the moments we get to float in a pool with a slight breeze hitting our face, not when we give a toddler a bath and have their used-soapy-bath-water splashed in our eyes.
How are we supposed to worship God in the everyday things of life?
One of the most significant teachers in my life regarding rejoicing in the everyday things of life is my son, Benji. In addition to some of his complex medical and developmental challenges, he also has an autism diagnosis. One of the ways his autism presents is his enjoyment of, and infatuation with, his cause-and-effect noisy toys. If you have kids around you, you probably know the ones. They have buttons, light up, and sing songs. They are the type of toy that before people have kids they vow to never let their children play with (except we all cave when they are mid-meltdown in WalMart and we need to finish the errands). Benji loves these toys.
This morning I watched him play with two of his favourite noisy toys in his room for almost an hour. And every minute or so, as he was playing with them, he would flap his arms and legs and giggle with delight as they sang the same song he has heard thousands of times. In an everyday moment that as a grown-up I can be irritated by, my son was communicating in all his non-verbal glory and delight: Here we go again!
The question we need to ask ourselves is whether we are too grown up to enjoy the goodness of the everyday moments of our lives. Will we mutter here we go again under our breath in disappointment, or will we be like Benji and behold the moment for what it is: an encore of God’s goodness.
When we fold the laundry, will we mutter? Or will we rejoice in the fact that the Lord provides what we need just as promised?
When we make lunches for our kids to take to school the next day, will we mutter? Or will we thank Jesus that we live in a time and place in history where we have ample access to food?
When we drop our kids off at school, will we mutter? Or will we pray for the Lord to protect and guide our children, and then smile about the access they have to education in our country?
You and I both know that we will probably do more muttering than beholding in the everyday moments ahead of us. But maybe, by God’s kindness, the Apostle Paul’s scandalous words will crash through the walls of our mind. Maybe we will see the moment we are stuck in as an opportunity to worship God.
In the everyday moments ahead of us, instead of muttering under our breath, maybe we will praise the One who gives us breath by saying: Here we go again!