Over the past year or so, household chores have become a source of comfort and, dare I say it, happiness for me. (Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.) In this wrenching time of the COVID-19 virus, the limited control we each have in life has been made clear in merciless terms. More than half a million dead Americans and counting. Which brings me, in a somewhat convoluted way, I suppose, back to the doorstep of, chores.
A chore, bless its heart, has a beginning, middle and end. When I was a boy, my parents gave me chores to do, some daily, others, weekly. One week it was, clean the bathroom. Next week, kitchen. Several times a week it was, wash and dry the dishes. Every day it was, clean your room.
If all this weren’t horrifying enough for my child-mind, make your bed every day was another directive. Every day!
Cleaning and organizing habits like these were habits we were supposed to absorb into our character, and continue throughout our life. What loving parents would inflict such a nightmare on their offspring?
This is not the first time and will not be the last that I can say, with heartfelt pleasure and gratitude, my parents were right, and I was wrong. It would be misleading to say my parents were neat freaks. They weren’t. Ours was a comfortable home. Books were everywhere, shelves, nightstands, end tables. Magazines, too. However, floors were swept and mopped, rugs vacuumed, counter tops wiped down, kitchen and bathroom sinks kept clean, and so on.
It is the kind of reality we cannot defeat as individuals. It takes a group effort. And while all of us do our part on the virus front, each of us can find comfort in the sanctuary of household chores.
And then there is this. When you are making your bed, you are in control. When you are washing the dishes, the control is yours. Thus, in part, the comfort and reassurance I find in doing my chores. There we do have total say. And that, may I say, is good news.