“Often when she woke, Jo found Beth reading in her well-worn little book, heard her singing softly, to beguile the sleepless night, or saw her lean her face upon her hands, while slow tears dropped through the transparent fingers, and Jo would lie watching her with thoughts too deep for tears, feeling that Beth, in her simple, unselfish way, was trying to wean herself from the dear old life, and fit herself for the life to come, by sacred words of comfort, quiet prayers, and the music she loved so well.
Seeing this did more for Jo than the wisest sermons, the saintliest hymns, the most fervent prayers that any voice could utter. For with eyes made clear by many tears, and a heart softened by the tenderest sorrow, she recognized the beauty of her sister’s life uneventful, unambitious, yet full of the genuine virtues which `smell sweet, and blossom in the dust’, the self-forgetfulness that makes the humblest on earth remembered soonest in heaven, the true success which is possible to all.”
Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
There are seasons of life where the seeming uneventfulness of my life is harder to bear. I suppose from an outsider’s perspective, my life could be considered eventful. But deep within, I long to be Effective and Useful. And it’s so much easier to see effectiveness and usefulness on a larger scale than in the confines of my own home. I suppose, deep within, that desire could be one of the reasons I still write occasionally and haphazardly. I long to be of use to people. I long to connect with people.
In my own introverted way.
Behind a computer screen.
And don’t you dare call me on the phone.
But as I was saying, some seasons of my life feel forgotten. The daily-ness of it all. The quotidian humdrum. The “have you flushed and washed your hands?” and the “was that a kind thing to say?” on repeat from dawn until dusk. The dishes that need washing. Why does that keep happening? And the laundry and the floors that I sweep at least four times a day.
But even acknowledging that I sometimes begrudge my lot (ever so slightly, as I am keenly aware of the blessings I’ve been bestowed)—even I can see the beauty in a faithful life, one like Beth’s in Little Women.
Some of the most meaningful stories are those of characters who were in it for the long game. Frodo and Sam. Each step, each day of their journey seems so painful. “Would I have even made it past the Shire?” I wonder.
Why is faithfulness such a big deal?
I’ll give you the 5-cent answer. I am supposed to be faithful because God is faithful to me, and I am His image bearer to the world.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
God will see us through to the finish. He will perfect the good work He began in us. His faithfulness has been written about by many authors in the Bible and has been evidenced every day in my own life. And we are to reflect His character and become more like Him every day.
So back to that desire to be effective and useful? I suppose, outside of my own home and the faithfulness in my mundane, the best work that I can do is to encourage you to discover the goodness of God in everyday life and to help you learn how to be faithful within our wavering culture. God help me, I’ll try.
Some Beauty For Your Day
To listen to: Spiegel im spiegel by Arvo Pärt