Saturday, December 10, 2011

think: words of wisdom.

a couple days ago i was grumbling to myself while doing the dishes when i was suddenly lost in a memory from about 8 years ago...

the summer after my first year of college i went to work at a summer camp in colorado. the opportunity arose and, though it meant i'd be spending the summer away from my boyfriend (now known as mr.a), i felt like it was what i was supposed to do. i was excited to get to work with kids, be outdoors every day and get to spend time in the mountains. after a week or two of training, all the college-aged staff were assigned their jobs. i was put on the ropes course, which i was really excited about. unfortunately, there were more than enough of us to cover the positions needed, so who ever was off the schedule for the week would do housekeeping duty. this was in addition to the daily housekeeping tasks we were already responsible for.
after a month of being there, i had only spent 4 days outside on the ropes course. the rest of the time (besides the occasional day off) i was inside. i cleaned more toilets, dusted more shelves and washed more dishes that summer than i ever had in my life. and i was miserable. it wasn't at all what i had imagined i would be doing. i rarely got to spend any time with the campers, i rarely got to be outside, and i was terribly homesick. one day i was eating breakfast and the camp maintenance man happened to sit down next to me. his name was dave sharman. he was australian and had moved to colorado with his family to serve at the camp. he asked me how things were going and i carefully vented some of my frustrations about the experience. 
dave listened as i spoke and i can still picture his warm eyes and bushy moustache. he told me about his choice to move his family across the world for what he thought was his dream job and he explained how different it had turned out to be when he first got here. he was always so jovial, it was hard to imagine him ever being dissatisfied. he gave me a lot of great advice but one thing in particular stood out to me. i don't remember exactly how he phrased it, but he basically said, "it's a dangerous thing to assume you're working harder than anyone else." it was exactly what i needed to hear that day and so many days since.

particularly in marriage, it can be so easy to feel like you're the only one who _________ (fill in the blank). lately i've found myself in that place. mr.a has been working long hours and usually works one day (if not both days) of the weekend. while i'm grateful that he has work to do and appreciate the fact that he's always willing to help someone else, sometimes i feel like a single parent again.* of course he is working equally as hard (if not harder) at his job, but it can be easy to lose sight of that when you're changing poopy diapers and picking up toys for the 18th time.

that night, as i put the final dish in the dishwasher and walked out to check on the girls, i had a new perspective on all this "work." i felt blessed and thankful for the ways i get to serve my family. unfortunately, i'm forgetful and flawed and will likely relapse into resentment. but i think God knows this about me. i think he's always known this about me. and, even if dave sharman didn't always feel like he was making a difference by working as a maintenance man, one day he spent ten minutes talking to a frustrated teenager and his words continue to make a difference in my life today.

*if you're new around here, mr.a recently returned from a year-long deployment.


  1. Words of wisdom here! I may or may not have said out loud, "oh, crap," as I got to this sentence, "particularly in marriage, it can be so easy to feel like you're the only one who _________ (fill in the blank)" because that would be exactly what I have felt today (and yesterday, too...maybe). Thanks for letting God speak through you to me tonight!

  2. Love these thoughts! Thanks for sharing!I also am fond of this post not only for the great message, but I live in Colorado!!! Would you be talking about Eagle Lake?
    Thanks again for sharing, really enjoy reading your posts!

  3. thanks y'all. i can be pretty scummy sometimes. luckily i edit my own blog. ;)
    anyway, @audra: it was actually called ravencrest in estes park.

    thanks, as always, for reading!


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