there’s a band i listen to from time to time, and their fan base is just a little obsessive. one of the band’s taglines is actually, “yes, this is a cult.” a few years ago, i was watching one of their music videos, and in the middle of the song, it cuts to videos their fans sent in talking about music and how important it is to them – how music saves their life and how they’d be lost without music or how music is the reason they don’t feel alone in life. i’ve never quite understood that obsession with music…but i do have a context in which i love music.
i like listening to music when i’m doing chores or cooking.
i know, i know what you’re thinking – who doesn’t? but really – music has this power to change chores into the most magical time of the day, if i incorporate it into said chores. chores are actually, all of a sudden, something i want to do, something i want to do because i’m not actually even doing chores, i’m listening to music.
i have a new main task.
the chores become the background, they’re no longer all i think about. it’s as though i deceive myself into productivity. cooking a meal, folding laundry, sweeping the floor and scrubbing the toilet are suddenly a set of adventures full of guitar solos, great beats, and high notes and harmonies i try to hit myself. and then next thing i know, my house is also clean.
i don’t have a lot of sympathy for people who don’t like chores. maybe that’s something i need to sort out. or maybe – i tell myself – that’s something they need to sort out. now, i like to think i have a semblance of humility in this blog and don’t pretend to have everything figured out, but i won’t lie: sometimes i don’t understand why people do things they don’t want to do.
(before i proceed, allow me to point out some hypocrisy: a few posts ago, i wrote about how i spend time doing things i don’t really want to do. do what you like with that.)
complaining is among my least favorite things in the world. again, hypocrite here, but seriously – it’s hard for me to sympathize with people who don’t like their job, who don’t like the town they live in, who don’t like something they feel like they have to wear (see: women with high heels) – people who have a chance and a choice to choose joy and refuse to. now, don’t get me wrong, i recognize that situations are delicate and it’s not always as easy as quitting your job or moving your life. but in those instances, i’m an advocate for choosing a little joy. hate your job? okay. why did you get into it in the first place? what drew you there? even if it was the paycheck – then let that drive you if nothing else will. are you good at any or all of it? then shoot – let yourself enjoy how good you are at it. is it in customer service? then think of the people. is it a skill? then think of the process. hate your city? then why are you there? or, again – what is something you like about it? what’s keeping you there? what joy is there to scrape off the bones? i guarantee you there is a modicum there to be found.
but this especially confounds me with the people of God. around this time of year, i am always reminded of something that someone once wrote, and i cannot for the life of me recall who (though surely a simple google search would suffice?) – that we are Easter people living in a Good Friday world. That is, we are people who know the rest of the story – that Jesus resurrected and He sits at the Father’s right hand and intercedes for us, that death isn’t our inheritance, etc and yet we live in this world in which there is pain, suffering, death, disease, frustration, etc. our challenge – our calling – is to live out the reality that we know, not just the one that we see. in the same way – on a micro level – i would submit that we are a get-to people in a have-to world. that we have to do certain things – we have to pay the bills, we have to work, we have to take care of our houses and our cars and our relationships, and that it is difficult at times, but we are called to find the joy in the process.
Consider what the Bible says about Jesus – that He endured the cross for the joy set before Him. i recognize that this is different from what i was saying earlier about chores and music – i do not believe that Jesus smiled as the nails made their way through His wrists – but i recognize that Jesus had a higher motivation for the things that He did, that He didn’t even have to do, but willingly chose for us. He does not lord this great salvation and sacrifice over us, but offers it freely and rejoices when we choose it.
i wonder what kind of people that should transform us into.