Saturday, November 22, 2008

What to Do?

Art print by Alice Dalton Brown.

Yesterday morning I got some worrisome news, something I could do absolutely nothing about but wait for more news and pray... and clean the house. Because you know what I do when I feel irritated, when someone has hurt my feelings, when troublesome news is given to me, when there's much to pray about? I clean house! I get more good cleaning done at these times than at any other, I think.

Cleaning house is fairly mindless work, and it keeps me moving and busy. And somehow, when I'm moving around, tidying and making things shine, those troubling thoughts or worries have far less power to pull me down into melancholy, into worry, into feelings of hopelessness or helplessness. Fretful thoughts turn more easily into prayer when I stay busy about my tasks.

There's a very old saying that makes the rounds often today: "Do ye the next thynge."

George MacDonald, the wonderful old Scottish author, is one who encouraged this:

"Try not to feel good when thou art not good, but cry to Him who is good. He changes not because thou changest. Nay, He has an especial tenderness of love toward thee for that thou art in the dark and hast no light, and His heart is glad when thou doest arise and say, "I will go to my Father." ...Fold the arms of they faith, and wait in the quietness until light goes up in thy darkness. For the arms of thy Faith I say, but not of thy Action: bethink thee of something that thou oughtest to do, and go to do it, if it be but the sweeping of a room, or the preparing of a meal, or a visit to a friend. Heed not thy feeling: Do thy work."

So, carry on with the routine. It's a gift, and it can change us and our view of things if we will do the next thing with with an attitude of simply leaving it all in God's hands. Doing the kind of routine work I feel compelled to do when I hear news like I heard yesterday morning is an act of defiance against worry and fretting. It is an act of hope, rooted in faith.

Do the next thing, whatever that is. Life goes on. God is in control. We can do our work and pray, and let Him do His work. And as we work and pray, peace grows.

And, in my case, the house gets very clean!
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Some of you may have seen an addition I wrote for this post earlier. I just read it again and think I'd better remove it. It didn't say what I meant for it to say, and it crosses the line into "personal," something I'm trying not to do here. I've got to stick to my blogging guidelines, you know! :-) Let's just say you're all a bunch of very kind and thoughtful ladies, and I appreciate it. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. And all is well. :-)