Mine

What is mine to do? It’s a question that’s been rattling around in my brain since I first heard it from my friend Suzanne Stabile on her podcast, The Road Back To You. I think that if we can answer that question, we will find a big clue to our purpose and calling here. And it seems so easy, “what is mine to do?”

The question can have a simple answer or a deep answer. Mine is the laundry and the cooking and the pick ups and drop offs and the reading to and singing to and tucking in. But mine is also the teaching, encouraging and affirming the three little selves that live with me. Mine is the caring for my husband who works in a bruising industry and comes home tired and worn out. Mine is the writing when I think of something and think it might be helpful. Mine is the welcoming of friends and family when they come to visit. 

I can usually answer what is mine to do but I get distracted by what I would like to be mine. I envy those whose things seem bigger than mine, those who preach the truth or fight injustice or write the songs or the books or the tv shows, who lead teams or change minds or create art. I can get so focused on what is yours to do that I lose sight of mine. I know I’m off track when I begin to feel discontent. I am never as satisfied or happy if I’m wishing mine was a different lot. If I find myself nostalgic for things that used to be mine to do in a different season of life. I know no one does it all at the same time and resting in the seasonality of life as my friend Jill reminds me helps me to patiently tend to what is mine to do in this season. 

Living in Geneva has simplified and distilled my answer to the question “What is mine to do?” See in the States, I would probably get involved in the PTA and the campaign to save my daughter’s preschool building and the local protests against construction and I would lose any chance I had of mindfully tending my own garden. Because I don’t speak enough French, my involvement in society is limited. I cannot crusade or argue but I do know enough to speak to another mom on the playground and politely ask how her son or daughter is doing. And that has to be enough for me. 

I consider myself a pretty smart person. I read a lot and listen to various podcasts, news programs, etc. I am a voracious consumer of information. But in this season of my life, I don’t have a lot of output. I don’t have a lot of opportunities to speak about these things and ideas because I cannot even really conjugate the past tense. So I am learning about being humble and not being a part of the smart or the active and just doing my things to do. It is hard to admit that my main tasks are menial at least in the here and now. But it is in the obedience in the small things that we learn obedience in the big things. Awhile ago I came across this quote from Helen Keller, “I long to accomplish a great and noble task but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”

I would love to be more involved in things and maybe someday I will be but for now you will find me wiping noses, reading books, vacuuming up dog hair and putting kids to bed. That is mine to do. And I am learning to be grateful for the language barrier that makes it much easier to focus on my own patch of this earth, to do these small tasks with the greatest care and focus on what is mine. 

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6 thoughts on “Mine

  1. Jane, wonderful Jane. You are a very wise woman. There are many seasons to life. Listening for God’s voice in each season is so wise. What is mine to do is just what you are doing. Gratitude and acceptance are such important virtues.

    I love you and miss you, Heidi

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. Jane, Beautiful! Doing “small deeds with great love” is the secret to the peace that passes understanding. Your blogs are blips of beauty in a tawdry world. Thank you. Proud to know you. Jill

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    • Thank you Jill! Your encouragement to enjoy the seasons of life and be patient make me a better person. Thank you!

      On Tue, 15 Nov 2016 at 14:34, the plain jane diaries wrote:

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  3. Jane, your ability to succinctly capture the feelings that so many moms of young ones have is incredible. It is just what I have been feeling lately, getting bogged down in the routine of endless laundry, dishes and cooking. But being able to read your words this morning has given me contentment of spirit that this work we do in this season is so very important, even if it is a small thing it will be a big thing in time. Thank you for sharing a small part of yourself with us 🙂

  4. Jane, You have been an ‘old soul’ since I’ve known you. And typically hard on yourself. This blog made me smile to see that once again … you see. I love you!

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