Why Does Anything Matter?
"The comfortable lies we tell ourselves regarding these "little things" - that they don't matter, and that daily personal and household chores are of no significance to us spiritually - are exposed as falsehoods when we consider that reluctance to care for the body is one of the first symptoms of extreme melancholia. Shampooing the hair, washing the body, brushing the teeth, drinking enough water, taking a daily vitamin, going for a walk, as simple as they seem, are acts of self-respect. They enhance one's ability to take pleasure in oneself and in the world." The Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris
Something specific to first world life is the ability to find time to read, think, create for pleasure, and not scramble and utterly spend oneself in hard work to simply feed yourself and your family. I'm not just talking about the ol' J-O-B here - I speak of attempting to find some food for the DAY, not looking into a well stocked pantry for the day's food. We're all working hard but the difference is wide between the two worlds.
One thing that I sometimes wrestle with is why anything matters. Why shower? Why wash the table off after lunch? Why make the bed? Why do those "little things" that Norris is writing about in The Quotidian Mysteries. (Excellent book if you can find it.)
Yesterday I wrapped up an embroidery project that I started two years ago. It's a simple linen shoulder bag that I hope to use for hand sewing projects I want to take around with me when I'm out and about and find myself with time to sew. I love hand sewing and it was satisfying to finish this project. It wasn't complicated but I had booms and busts in working on it, thus the two years.
It has given me such pleasure to sew the simple embroidery design, to feel the raised threads over the linen material with my fingertips.
And now it is finished and I keep walking over to admire it. I showed it off to Dale and the children, even looked in the mirror to see how it looks on my shoulder. I'm proud of it.
But I wrestled with if it mattered, especially now with all the uncertainty of food shortages, rising prices, inflation, politics.
I'm here to say, IT MATTERS. Because each stitch pulled me down out of the crazy in my head to anchor into realities of motion, into skillful flow of needle, thread.
I will remember this when I feel that ennui again in the future. Because for now I have food in the pantry and I have time to be creative and to think about what I create. Unless I am scrambling for food and shelter, it matters.
As Norris said so beautifully, the quotidian things "enhance one's ability to take pleasure".