The things in life that we are most prone to take for granted are generally not the things we should take for granted. The things we presume on are usually not those things which are ordinary, but rather, the things which we most regularly see.
The funny thing about what we most regularly see is that it becomes what we actually notice the least. When you see a friend’s kids everyday, you don’t notice how much they’re growing and changing, but when you don’t see them for a long time, you notice every little change. What I see the most is what I tend to notice the least.
In my life, the place I spend most of my time is at home. As a student, I do most of my work from my desk at home. Since our church has no official office, my desk functions as my office for my job as well. All this combines to make me a genuine homebody (though I’m not as bad as Tim Challies… rumour has it he was born with quite a dark complexion, but has only turned pasty over the past 185,342 consecutive days of blogging).
In my world, then, the things that I am most likely to not notice are the things that happen at home, since it’s where I spend most of my time.
Here’s one thing I take for granted all the time, that I never should: my wife works hard.
Stay-at-home moms get a bad reputation in lots of circles, but let me tell you, it is a hard job. All the worst aspects of all the worst jobs are combined in this one. Low (no) pay. Repetitive tasks. Very little by way of immediate results. Everything you do needs to be redone in a few hours, tomorrow, or next week. You’re forced to multi-task in ways that no human should ever be able to multi-task. No one appreciates you. No one sees the work you do. There is very little by way of intriguing conversation over the course of a day. Loud noises and crying that would drive anyone else nuts in about five minutes are your background music. There is almost no imposed structure on your day (which is bad for scatter-brained people like myself who need order). The hours are long and irregular. When everyone else takes vacation, it only means more work for you. Your job is literally never done. Then a husband wants dinner, time together, and then romance at night when you’re ready to fall over you’re so tired.
Then whenever you’re at dinner parties or meeting someone new they ask, ‘What do you do?’ You answer, and they say, ‘Oh…’. Who has it harder than all this?
I see it everyday, but how often do I notice it? More often than not I take it for granted. I think my busy-ness means it’s okay to let her work hard and be busy too. I think it gives me an excuse to presume on her work. I think that she should be able to handle it… she always does, right? I end up taking for granted the very one whom God has given me to enable me to do my ministry. I could accomplish nothing without her, but how often do I stop to think about that and thank her? Or better yet, help her?
I am a slow learner. I hope that you men who read this are not as slow as me.
Honour your wife. Tell her how she’s a blessing to you. Explain to her how you see God’s grace active in her life. Point out the fruit that God is bringing about through her labours. Encourage her with a note or a written prayer for her. Speak highly of her ministry to others. Look for new ways to help her with her job. Care for her as you would your own body. Kiss her, tell her you love her. Do something… do anything! Just don’t take her for granted.