This blog post was originally published several years ago here at Home Sanctuary. For many years on this blog, I gave points for daily tasks...because hey, we do so many thankless, unnoticed jobs it was nice to get some actual POINTS for doing them! (Taking out the trash, anyone?)
I love the sentiment in this piece, and it's just as true now as it was then. Maybe it's just what you need today.
One of the biggest challenges I face when writing a motivational blog that rewards specific, measurable tasks at home, is that so much of motherhood - and life - is filled with things that cannot ever really be measured.
I know, we're all trying to get organized and find important papers and open the refrigerator door without fear, but in the big scheme of life those things are barely even significant. Not when you compare them to the ways we should love one another, how we should speak to each other, and make room for each other's faults and celebrate small moments of beauty. Or how we should trust God in the midst of trials, or model good character to our kids day in and day out.
Do you know what I'm saying?
How can you ever measure the importance of letting cleaning wait so you can gaze into your baby's eyes and stroke her tiny fingers as you feed her?
You could you never put a number on the patience it takes to listen to a nine-year old tell you a story that appears to have no end...and no point. And yet you smile and nod and notice how his freckles are so darn cute and his smile is just a little lopsided.
You certainly can't put a price tag on staying up late with your teenager to eat popcorn in the kitchen and talk about boys and hairstyles, and you couldn't ever know the value of just one more bedtime story or a kiss on a forehead or that look you give your child that says, "that just about enough out of you, sir."
No one gives you points for the things moms do to smooth squabbles, feed tummies or wipe bottoms to the best of your ability. Checking behind ears for dirt, playing This Little Piggy, doling out discipline and forever wondering if you're doing a good enough job...not one task can be measured because each child, each circumstance, each day is different and requires every last ounce of a mom's best energy and attention.
And don't even mention watching clouds and chasing fireflies and finding rainbows....they'll never get checked off anyone's list, but they're some of the moments that truly matter - and only come when you're willing to drop your To Do's to catch them.
The truth is, although our lists fill our days with busy tasks, it's the things that rarely make our lists that make life sweet and good. It's when we look up from our phone apps and emails and measurable tasks and see the little people (and big people) who need us to BE with them in the moment, fully present and engaged, that everything comes into clear focus.
The things that can't be measured are worth our very best efforts, our highest goals and our strongest pursuits.
Love and faith and grace should be the whole point of all our other tasks - that perhaps in reprioritizing them we will leave room for the immeasurable joy that comes when we're simply...available.
Looking for the moments that connect us to each other and with God.
Today's Small Thing is to do something that can't be measured or checked off a list.
Hold a hand in the car on the way to where you're late to, sprawl across your child's bed and whisper in the dark, or look - really look - at your son or daughter as they speak.
It doesn't matter what.
You grab hold of the moment.
You give it the attention it deserves.
Intangible, immeasurable, uncountable, unfathomable. Today, let love and grace fill in the spaces your To Do list cannot possibly reach...and simply enjoy what comes.
POINTS: 50 - because in real life you never get points for doing the immeasurable.