Humility Rules Homework assignment: Do Someone Else’s Chores for a week.
I tend to be responsible for most of the chores in my house. So, while I very much wish this assignment was “order someone else to do your chores for you” or “You should read this book and do this assignment for me,” I’d have to make do. Of course, neither of those would technically be a lesson in humility. One is a lesson in being bossy, and the other is a lesson on being lazy. I’m not saying I’m opposed to either of those options, especially the latter, but it defeats the point of this entire humbling journey.
I spend every week doing everyone else’s chores on top of my own because they’re basically all my chores and have been since I mimicked Mary’s fiat.
No, not her car.
Although my four-year-old does a pretty mean dual exhaust (I’ve never seen a Fiat with dual exhaust).
Mary’s fiat was when she declared, “let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). I did something similar when I decided to stay home with my kids; only it was less out of being the Lord’s handmade and more out of, “Well, it makes no sense to work to pay for daycare, and I don’t have to get dressed if I don’t want to.”
And some days I don’t.
I had NO idea that my “yes” would be so much serving. All-day, every day, I’m serving, serving, serving. All-day, all night. Serving everyone. Even the cat. Finding a chore that I didn’t do would be tough. I chalked this assignment up to a wash and martyred myself for a job well done as I marveled over my self-given title of “supreme self-sacrificer” of my home.
[pats her pride-filled self on the back]
Then, I went to get groceries.
Thanks to it being four degrees outside, I was forced to haul my groceries around the driveway and into the back door. Because when it’s below 32 degrees, we cannot open the garage door. According to my husband, “there is stuff in there that will get cold.” And probably it could, but I doubt that quickly. Still, not opening the garage door is easier than having to listen to a lecture on the chemistry of how paint freezes.
That meant that I had to shovel my own path from the car to the house.
This is not my chore.
I do not shovel snow.
My husband is from the midwest so, by default, he is the designated snow shoveler in our family because:
- It’s in his blood.
- He has about 40+ years of experience in doing it.
- I love the cold but hate to be outside in it.
- Our kids are not reliable. They start to shovel then end up ditching the chore for swan diving into a pile of snow. Which we hope isn’t covering an unpleasant surprise, like someone’s bike.
First, I shoveled in the wrong direction because the wind was blowing the snow back in my face.
Second, for whatever reason, I cannot accurately use a snow shovel because they are awkward, and this quickly became one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve ever had.
Third, pair the design of a snow shovel with snow that is heavy and you become a modern-day Sisyphus. I think at one point, I was pushing my entire body weight into this stuff and shoving forward to move, maybe, a quarter of an inch of snow. That was when the shovel didn’t get caught up in the grooves between the stones lining our walkway. That was while my hands froze and my face froze and my nosrils froze.
I spent ten minutes pushing a path clear for myself and called it “good enough.”
I did someone else’s chore for ten minutes.
Once I was inside and warm again, I began to think about how my husband shovels not just the stairs and walkways, but the entire deck has to be shoveled to keep the weight off of it. The pathways to all our home entrances need to be shoveled and, more importantly, the driveway, so none of it turns into a sheet of ice.
Did I find a newfound respect for him and his shoveling?
But I did find a sense of gratitude that I didn’t have before, because I never knew how much work it was. And he does it every time it snows. He does it without prompting, without being asked, and without a single complaint despite him having genuine hate for cold weather. So, while I didn’t learn much in humility—outside of the fact that not being able to operate a snow shovel is pretty humbling—I did learn a little about gratitude.
All because of a chore that I’ve never even been asked to do.
It’s probably time to strip myself of the title supreme self-sacrificer and start to realize that, while I have a higher volume of chores and the trajectory which I have to accomplish them is never a smooth, straight line, it doesn’t necessarily make my chores harder or more unpleasant.
Maybe it’s time to make sure there is hot cocoa waiting for him when he comes inside from the freezing cold that I don’t have to be in.
Because he is.
Sometimes, the things we aren’t responsible for are easily taken for granted and are almost always the ones we overlook or don’t even notice at all.
Except for a four-year-old burning around the house like a Fiat with dual exhaust.