I think it’s a good thing that I came to terms with the day to day drudgery of motherhood before I took on this huge undertaking of launching and administrating a nonprofit organization. Because it’s not much different.
It sounds exciting. I get to say things like, “I administrate a non-profit organization that helps orphans and refugees that escaped from the brutal military regime and organized genocide of the Burmese government.”
That’s a sentence that makes me sound like a really awesome person doing something really super important and exciting. Guess what? It is really super important. The work I do day in and day out could save many lives.
But exciting? Not usually.
I spend a lot of time writing copy for the website and promotional materials. I email people asking them to help or support us. I write business proposals and fill out forms for lawyers. I correspond with the book keeper, I mail out receipts. In essence, it’s a ton of hard, hard work, most of it paper work. Which makes my brain boggle. You would have to pay a lot to get someone to do all the things for you that I do as a volunteer.
(Way more important to our organization than me are the people like you who just took a second one day and clicked a sponsor a child button, or a donate button, and perhaps sacrificed something in order to be able to give. The desperately needed money to pay for food and lodging for all of these kids without families comes from these people. Without them there would be no organization. All the world is built on little steps.)
Every so often I get to put on respectable clothes and go out to talk to people in public about it. That’s sort of fun. I’m pleased to discover I’m kind of good at that. But that’s infrequent. Mostly it’s cooking tasty dinners so that the people who are volunteering to do the bits we can’t do want to keep coming back to our house to work on it some more. It’s the least I can do for people who are giving their time and skills. It is far from glamorous.
But I do it, because it matters that I do. I have learned that the best course, the only course for me any more, is to be faithful to do what I have been given to do, and to do it with all my heart.
Which brings me back to mothering. It’s not a very glamorous job description. People aren’t impressed when you tell them you are a mother. Though they ought to be.
After all, mothers nurture and protect life itself. They make people. They bring up men and women and the influence they wield over who those men and women will ultimately be is considerable. Mothering is power and influence. Mothers are the ones who keep children fed, clothed, bathed, and cared for in most instances. Ask any child without a mother how important it is to have one.
Yet, as lofty and important as mothering truly is, it’s easy to lose sight of that in the day to day reality of what it involves. It’s wiping up spills, and washing stinking loads of laundry. It’s repeating yourself over and over again. It’s laying completely still so you don’t wake the feverish child sleeping on your chest. It’s falling into bed exhausted every night only to wake up in the morning and do the exact same things, all over again. You would have to pay someone an awful lot to do all the things that mothers do for free.
And yet, there is no way to overstate the importance of faithful mothers in the world. Or fathers.
When you do what is in front of you to do, and you do it to the best of your ability, and you do it with a smile on your face more often than a frown, you are changing someone’s life for the better, that of your own child.
The work I do for The Charis Project is important work. Hard, long, monotonous work, often. But it is not a single bit more important than the work I do in taking care of my own children every single day. And not a bit more glamorous.
Which leads me to conclude that any thing worth doing is mostly just a whole lot of hard work. If what you have in front of you to do looks like hard work that doesn’t seem all that significant, and you find yourself imagining a different more significant path, chances are you are in the right place. The world needs more people who are faithful in the little things. Every great thing ever accomplished was done by people who set their hand to a task and didn’t quit until it was done. Faithful people change the world, one step at a time.