Something to do

“Well, I guess we’ll always have something to do.”

That’s what I said to David the first night we were in our house, as he walked past me to cap off a shorting circuit in the living room as I tried to figure out just how we were going to organize our compact kitchen to fit in all of our very many kitchen things. This, of course, was after we had swept every floor and cleaned every surface in anticipation of the dusty boxes and newspaper and dirt-covered shoes that would come through the next day and fill our house, enabling the cleaning process to start over again–that is, after we get around to unpacking everything.

We’ll always have something to do.

That line has swam through my head throughout the past two days, as we’ve filled our no-longer-empty house with boxes upon boxes of things that soon need to be unpacked and placed in a Spot. It’s floated past me as I stared off into our side yard, looking at all the overgrown mystery plants and the really dry dirt and imagined growing ALL THE TASTY VEGETABLES, wishing that I had paid attention to Mom when she tried to get me to garden instead of balking about pulling up weeds like the annoying 10-year-old I was. It’s fluttered past my ear as I hear David talk about our plans to put in a patio, fix the strange concrete arches that line our driveway, and fill in the cracks in the concrete this summer yet.

There will always be something to do. 

In some sense, it’s comforting. It means that, even though I don’t yet have a job to speak of and  I don’t yet have a group of friends to distract me, this triple-majoring, club-joining, idea-enlivening energyball will always have something going on. Housewife? For now. Watching “stories” and eating bonbons? Hardly.

In another sense, though, it’s terribly daunting. When you spend hours unpacking boxes labeled “kitchen,” already knowing that you’re going to rearrange the cabinets (again) when you’re done, and the yet-to-unpack boxes seem to increase in a hallucinogenic fit of moving hysteria, it can send you into a horrible spiral of “wherethehell should I put the microwave since these are here and those are there and this can’t go away until I find a place for that but I want to put those there later so WILL SOMEONE PLEASE INVITE ABBOTT AND COSTELLO INTO MY KITCHEN FOR THEIR NEXT COMEDY ROUTINE?”

So when David suggested on Saturday night, after a full day of unloading and unpacking and furniture-building, that we actually utilize Sunday as a true “day of rest” from our packing, I doubled back, blinked, took a deep breath, and said, “Well, ok.”

When I woke up the next morning, I realized how very brilliant my husband (husband!!!) is. Sabbath. Rest. Remembering that you are not in control of everything, that things will last another day, is central to remembering that you are more, far more, than all the stuff that’s currently surrounding you. That your humanity, your well-being, matters more than what you’ve accomplished in a day or what’s on your To-Do list for tomorrow. As New Glarus says, “you do not have to be extreme to be real, just be.”

There is always going to be something to do. There will always be caulking to fix and coffee tables to sand and rooms to clean and organize–and it’ll all be there tomorrow. After a hard afternoon of unloading boxes, sometimes you just need to sit on your front lawn and watch a bunch of 30-year-old men attempt to climb a tree. When boxes are surrounding you and you think they’ll never go away, it’s worth it to just sit next to your husband, drink some tea, and play Bananagrams.

There will always be something to do.

And sometimes, that something is rest.


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