A few years ago, when my mother passed away, we were all worried about how Dad would survive. After all, he was about 78 then, and hardly cooked much on his own. However, over the years, Dad has become a gourmet chef. He makes all kinds of strange things, like French Onion Soup with Gratinee, Mini Crab Cakes, and Boston Clam Chowder. For our Thanksgiving Dinner, he was considering making a Turduckin: a turkey stuffed with a duck which is stuffed with a chicken! As it was, he made a real knock-‘em dead stuffing for our celebration!
One time at the dinner table during his visit for the Thanksgiving holiday, I mentioned to him offhandedly, “You know, Dad, if you would have made all these fancy meals when I was younger, we would not have had to suffer with casseroles that had been put in the refrigerator by Mom when she went back to college.” We were all thankful that Mom did her best to provide food for us while she had to be gone, but it was not quite the same.
The exchange got me to thinking. Naturally, when Dad was younger and he was working too, he didn’t really want to do any gourmet cooking, though his eggs and bean soup were everyone’s delight. But I couldn’t blame him for not wanting to take to the kitchen. After all, he had a tight schedule and a great cook at home. But it’s interesting to think that the activity which he had no desire to do years ago, he loves now. And the food he makes now completely eclipses anything he made back then!
When we have a duty and it seems like just a duty, it is hard to turn it into a masterpiece. However, when we take that duty, like cooking, and add desire to it – the desire to create something wonderful, the desire to be an encouragement, the desire to be a blessing – it becomes a work of art. It all depends on our attitude.
Do we desire to be a blessing, or merely to survive? I know there are times when we go into what I call “survival mode,” but that should not be our normal operating procedure. We as mothers can create a wonderful atmosphere for our families, if we only put our hearts into it.
It is the difference between merely writing a letter, and adding a touch of beauty to it through stickers or drawings. It is the difference between getting our husband a cup of tea and serving it to him with a flourish. It is the difference between “doing the laundry” and being a specialist in garment revitalization!
We have the opportunity to really be a blessing to our families, if only we had the desire.
It is the difference between duty and delight.