Do you ever feel like Sisyphus? 

He’s the guy in Greek mythology that was sentenced to push a boulder up a hill for the rest of his life. Every time that he came near to reaching the summit, the gods would merely roll it back to the bottom so that he was never free from the work but never finished and he must always labour in the full knowledge of the futility of his work.

If that sounds familiar, luv, me, too.

When I’m picking up for the eleventy-billionth time, when every one needs to eat and it seems like we just ate, when we are wondering what to do with our one wild and precious life that sure isn’t feeling very wild or precious right about now, when the laundry is piled unfolded and someone spills their full glass of milk on the floor I just washed and the bickering and noise enters its second hour and the house is too hot and there isn’t much time for the things that I want to do on the day off, I feel like Sisyphus, futile, pushing a rock up a hill that will never summit.

(I know that you know that I love my life, that, most days, I flat-out enjoy it so I’m going to try very hard not to qualify this but yesterday, it all felt futile and my very skin prickled with resentment.)

I began to wonder if homeschooling was the right decision because boarding school sure looked good right about now.

But I made it through the too-hot day with my too-hot temper and at supper I was completely disarmed because every one said thank you and they meant it.

At night, we crawled into our bed and Evelynn woke up to nurse. Brian was propped up on his elbow watching us. She moves like a kitten when she’s nursing, her little fingers opening and closing on my skin, her milky elbows slowly turning to showcase every dimple, small sighs and groans breathing. Her long heavy lashes lay on her plump cheeks and I can feel the pull of her gathering everything she needs from my own imperfect self. I swear my heartbeat calms when my milk lets down and even my bones exhale.

“Oh, now that’s something you never want to forget,” my husband breathed into my hair, his eyes full on both of us laying on our sides towards each other.

And I have eleventy-billion of these moments a day too, seemingly small, times when my breath catches and I have no camera or pen nearby so I’m going to have to rely on my something in my soul remembering it forever because it’s a step up a mountain, a roll of the rock of my own stubbornness, and I don’t have any gods at the top, pushing me back to the bottom, laughing at my futile efforts.

No, there is welcome and release in the work of it, in the working of the muscles of selflessness and service, giving.  The truth of it all is that I do have eleventy-billion chances in a day to choose love, to breathe out wonder, to love, to serve, to choose life and life more abundant, working out who I was meant to be all along and meeting something beautiful at every summit, never futile, “if anything matters, everything matters.”

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In which I am a tongue talker
In which I [Just Write] about praying like it matters
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  • Bree

    Yes. Thank you for the reminder this morning, at the start of another busy day. Today, I will chose to love.

  • Rebeccanmast

    This was the view I held this morning. I was getting nowhere. Thank you for the tears of revelation. I will chose to hold on to those precious moments and exhale peace to my boys. You have touched my heart and helped me let go of this boulder I’m lugging around!

  • “if anything matters, everything matters”

    Those are must-remember words.

    • I say them over and over somedays more than others… 😉

  • Have you heard the semi-new song Do Everything by Steven Curtis Chapman?

    To quote directly (because really, I can’t improve on this):

    You’re picking up toys on the living room floor for the 15th time today
    Matching up socks, sweeping up lost Cheerios  that got away
    You put a baby on your hip, color on your lips and head out the door
    While I may not know you I bet I know you wonder sometimes
    Does it matter at all?

    Let me remind you it all matters just as long
    You do everything you do to the glory of One who made you
    ‘Cause He made you
    To do every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
    Tell a story of grace
    With every move that you make and every little thing that you do.

    Amen, yes? It’s Sisyphus with a purpose. Because every time we roll that rock up the hill, it gets smoother, the better to reflect His glory. Done with love, everything matters.

    • No, I’ve never heard that! Wow – what an amazing song. Thank you so much for that, Kelly (as I cry…).

  • Thanks, I needed to read this today.  Love this: “if anything matters, everything matters.”

  • It’s definetely one of those days over here. Thanks for the perspective.

  • Well then this just made me let down and tear up, and was just what I was looking for.

    Steph

  • Oh wow. Thank you for this (and many other posts). I have been deeply struggling with feeling any purpose as a mom lately. How many toddler fits can you quell before it all seems meaningless, right?  Selflessness, service and giving. Those are worthy things to make a life worth living, even if it doesn’t seem that way to those on the outside. 

  • I feel that way more days (or parts of days anyway) than I care to admit. I don’t know if I’m just more jaded on my fourth kid, or more tired, or more selfish. But it’s discouraging. I have to work really hard to have a good attitude.

    • You’ve been through a lot this summer with Bolivia and everything, Joy. Grace for yourself, too. xo

  • “I swear my heartbeat calms when my milk lets down and even my bones exhale.”

    Oh, I remember that. I remember it and I miss it so, so, so much. I remember it so real.

    You and me and Sisyphus and the rest of us … one foot in front of the other, everything goes as it goes.

    • It’s amazing how much comfort I find in that phrase “everything goes as it goes” – the inevitability of it doesn’t bring despair as much as it does freedom. I have no clue why this is.

  • Julie

    I haven’t been following for too long, and I knew you to be real… but I’m SO thankful for this REAL post, as I struggle with the ‘joy’ in serving all to often as well, when its the same thing day after day, and meal after meal, and mess after mess.  We are all in this together, pushing our own rocks, and pulling some others behind us as well with words of encouragement like these.  Thank you.

    • We are all in it together, Julie, you are so right. Blessings, friend!

  • Oh yes, friend, I can relate! Especially to this:

    “…when we are wondering what to do with our one wild and precious life that sure isn’t feeling very wild or precious right about now…”

    So often it feels like if we can just rally for this last heave-ho, if we can just get around this next bend, we will see all of the meaning that’s waiting to fill our lives, and all of the ways we can fulfill that meaning.

    I will say, when you have little ones it’s easy to tell yourself that you’re simply in your tired, busy, mothering phase, but then a decade passes and you sometimes still find yourself wondering what it is you’re supposed to be *doing* with your life! The rock feels so heavy, then.

    Thank you for reminding us how important those small moments are, and how those small steps are never futile.

    • I am so glad you’re “back” with us, Kristin. I’ve missed you! xo

  • I don’t have much brain power right now.  I’ll just say, “yep”.  And, hugs to you, dear!

  • Oh Sarah.
    I would have to go line by line to tell you all the many beautiful ways this post spoke (make that sang!) to me today.
    Some of those little things can just feel so defeating when my neck aches, my eyes are tired and…my heart isn’t right. Check.
    Thank you thank you. Love isn’t a strong enough word for what I feel towards you and this place you have over here.Even your commentors are gorgeous, aren’t they?
    There is no where I feel more sure of than when I am mothering- especially nursing my baby. Divine creation that breastfeeding- a built in rest and flood of “feel good”:)

  • I needed this today, I am a mom of 2 kids 2 and under and it seems like it’s a endless string of picking up cheerios, changing diapers and buying milk, bananas and eggs.  There is so much comfort in the knowledge that we all go through the futile and repetitive feelings that come with stay at home parenting.  Thanks for sharing in such a real and beautifully expressed way.