For I have known them all already, known them all -
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons...
TS Eliot (The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock)
Is it a bit of a toss to start a post with a quote from poetry? Since I really don't know many poems, I promise it won't happen again.
But don't you sometimes relate to this bleak summary of life? Time is passing and it feels like we are doing nothing of significance. We're just wasting time, measuring out life with coffee spoons. Or maybe you're measuring with afternoon meetings, or cups of tea, or typing numbers into computers, or writing words on pages, or delivering the same old lessons, or fixing the same old problems.
As a parent of little ones, I am measuring my life with loads of washing and nappy changes and wiping tables and "Mummy, I'm hungry"s and 5pm grizzles. On the good days I might measure with nap times and snuggly stories and funny games and lazy walks. On the best days I might measure life with holidays or trips to special places.
Even the best days, while fun, can feel insignificant.
It's true that none of these things are significant in themselves. A load of washing doesn't change the world. A lazy walk might be just a way to pass the time. A cup of coffee means nothing more than a happy Mum (for a short time). Even a holiday or a special day out won't be remembered beyond a single lifetime.
I'm not changing the world. I'm not even (despite what people might say) doing the hardest job in the world. But there is significance behind the mundane. My relationship with God, my relationship with my husband, my relationship with my children, my extended family and my friendships make my actions significant.
I do the washing and change the nappies and wipe the tables for the health of my family. I read the stories and enjoy the snuggles to build intimacy with them. We go for day trips and holidays to create happy family memories and to enjoy time together. We work at the tedious tasks to show our love and gratitude to God, giving thanks for all that he has provided.
I will probably not be remembered much beyond my lifetime. But, for at least 5 other people in this world, and to God, I am doing something of great significance.