Saturday, December 31, 2011

It is better to be thankful than thanked

"I can do all things 
through Christ who strengthens me"
Philippians 4:13

I wear many titles:  teacher, mother, wife, daughter, nurse (unlicensed, of course), chauffeur (without the jaunty chapeau), chef (but without the tattoos all those TV chefs have) and laundress (picture Carol Burnett's "washer woman" but taller.  And skinnier.  And brunettier...)

Yesterday I found myself very proud of my laundry skills.  My Awesome Girl had gotten a new shirt for Christmas, that she just loved.  I don't know who was happier Christmas morning ~ Awesome Girl with her new shirt, or Amazing Boy, who was so excited his sister was finally able to receive the gift he had gotten her!  And then she accidentally spilled salsa on it.  Sometimes, it just doesn't matter how careful you're being, does it?  Anyhow, she was so disappointed in herself for letting it happen.  She rinsed it out, and I washed it as soon as I could, knowing that speed was of the essence.

I've gotten out some pretty tricky stains in my years of doing laundry.   Some stain removers are better at stains than others.  Some work better on greasy stains, etc.  Water temperature matters, vinegar and baking soda are valuable, and bleach can do more harm than good.  So I have several weapons in my arsenal. 

The stain came out.  I hung the shirt up on the line, gazing lovingly at the white whiteness, and I couldn't wait for her to see (she was in bed) that the salsa stain was gone. 

And then, the next day when she saw it, she crowed happily about the stain having come out.  She was thrilled that her newest shirt as as good as new, and she said things like, "Yay!" and "It came out!" and "It's gone!"  Things like that.  What she didn't say was:  "Thank you, Mom." 

I was hurt for a few minutes, felt a little sorry for myself, overworked, underpaid mom that I am (sarcasm there) but only for a very short time.   Because I quickly realized I really hadn't done anything worth thanking.  The stain came out in only one washing, I guess because it was so fresh.  I didn't even need to try any of my stain-removing techniques.  Probably, her rinsing the stain out right away made all the difference.   I guess it could be argued that she should have thanked me just for doing her laundry, but she does that frequently.  And she does a lot around the house.  I probably owe her a few thank you's too.  And truth be told, it's my pleasure to do her laundry.  My daughter, my son, my husband, are all gifts to me, and though the house is not always spotless, it is my joy to care for them, and make our home a place they love to be. 

Although I quickly recovered from my bout of incredible selfishness, it got me to thinking about how seldom we really "deserve" any thanks we get.   I'm only able to do laundry at all, because of the arms and legs and brain that God has given me.   Anything I do for anyone else is because He has given me the ability.  Anything I do that is special, or wonderful, or above and beyond the call of duty, is only what He expects of me.  My gifts, my talents, my heart.... are all from Him. 

Christmas is over, and now it's the season of thank you cards.  I will be encouraging my children to write them, and writing them myself, with great appreciation for the people in my life who have blessed me.  But I think maybe I should be writing Him some notes of thanks, too ~ for the blessings given me, and for the blessings He has enabled me to share with others. 

~ "I will sacrifice to You
    with a voice of thanksgiving" ~
Jonah 2:9

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