I Hate Shaving
By: Rev. Brandon Dirks
I hate shaving. Every day. The same thing. Day after day. Then, I have to brush my teeth. Oh yeah, then floss. Geez. Then I have to take a shower! Another mundane, daily, uninteresting, but necessary task. My day seems to be full of these repetitive, boring tasks.
I feel like these ordinary, uninteresting chores are the things I HAVE to do every day to GET to the really important things I NEED to do.
Do you have daily tasks like these? The necessary, but routine things that you have to do most every day? The kinds of things that feel like they are “in between” the important things in life? Duties such as washing dishes, doing the laundry, exercising; commuting to work, taxiing kids here and there, etc.?
Some may want to define life as a series of exciting moments strung together one after another. The reality may be closer to life being one ordinary moment after another occasionally interrupted by something interesting. How does this fit with Jesus’ promise of an abundant life?
“…I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
Kathleen Norris’ beautiful book, “The Quotidian Mysteries,” seeks to find faith in the mundane and ordinary parts of life. She writes, “What we do of necessity can drag us down, and all too often the repetitive and familiar become not occasions for renewal, but dry, stale, lifeless activity.” Norris is warning us that if we are not careful, everyday life might not have any ‘life’ at all. But, she is also hinting that there is something more in the ordinary, that there could be something sacred in the repetitive task. That God might be more present in the “in-between” moments and we may be missing it!
Seriously??? Why would God care about my shaving?
The reason that the ordinary tasks of life are important to God is because we spend so much of our time there. Richard Foster writes, “Frankly, if we fail to sanctify the ordinary we will leave God out of a large part of who we are and what we do.”
In other words, well-meaning Christians have separated daily life from the spiritual life. We have set aside “spiritual activities” as those things that we do on Sunday or for a few minutes each day and yet the rest of our lives we wonder where God is. To God there is no difference between the sacred and the secular—it is all sacred.
Norris goes on to say, “Both laundry and worship are repetitive activities with a potential for tedium, and I hate to admit it, but laundry often seems like the more useful of those tasks. But both are the work that God has given us to do.”
I wonder if the mindlessness of these daily tasks actually make us ready for God to do his best work in us. Maybe it is in these moments that God is asking to be invited…because we spend so much time there.
How can we see the extraordinary when everything seems so ordinary?
Ever watch kids play kitchen and pretend to wash dishes? Ever wonder why a child wants you to re-read the same book over and over? Ever see a penny on the ground and ignore it while a child sees an amazing treasure?
Didn’t Jesus say something that we ought to become like little children…
Maybe the answer is in play…
Maybe the boring, repetitive, daily tasks are moments where God is inviting us to play…
Would you help me figure out how to find God in the ordinary…because I still hate shaving!
Rev. Brandon Dirks