Contentment in the Mundane

Everyday Stories of Peace
Green Scarf Stories, entry eleven, October 31, 2014

Our family’s spider-in-residence is back in his spot by the front door and I’m feeling content. He’s not the kind that spins webs and eats whatever comes his way, but a much larger not-in-the-books kind of arachnid, a home-made version created by our daughter Sophia a few years ago. I love his feather eyebrows.

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It’s Halloween today and our pumpkin is ready, thanks to our son Oscar. We don’t usually have many children coming to our door here in Sweden, but sometimes we’re pleasantly surprised.

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It’s been a good week. School’s out for fall vacation, giving students and teachers like me a rest between the busy days in the classroom. I’ve had a chance to catch up on a few projects like sewing curtains and getting together materials for a Halloween party that a friend and I are having next week to raise money towards the effort to contain Ebola. I’ve even finished the draft of a few chapters of a book I’ve been working on, so the punch list is shorter. But most of all, at this moment, the big worries about taking care of the people I’m responsible for seem so small. Just now, between the busy days, everyone in my immediate circle is OK. The extended family, including parents and in-laws, is happy and healthy. Our daughter is in Hawaii on a school trip and staying with a wonderful family. Erik finished his exams at university this week and Oscar, home from ski gymnasium, actually liked the haircut I gave him. Life feels full and good.

But the real contentment this week came from the most mundane of tasks – washing the window blinds. These blinds take forever to clean because you have to wipe both sides of each and every slat by hand. It’s a job I have been putting off for months. But the thing is that while I was cleaning, the sky was doing amazing things. The clouds kept producing the most fantastic combinations of shapes and patterns, and the colors reflecting from the sun were almost unbelievable. It was as if the sun and sky were putting on this little show just for me.

Almost as wonderful is the half moon on this crisp clear autumn evening. The moon has a halo of white around it, with a tinge of deep blue. On my way to the compost pile to give our kitchen scraps to the worms, I stood for a long time just taking it all in. Cooking for a lot of hungry boys produces a lot of kitchen scraps, especially if you are trying to increase their vegetable intake. I think I can hear the worms singing in our compost bin.

Thank goodness for life’s mundane tasks, it gives me pause to reflect on the endless beauty around me. I’m grateful for this peaceful lull between the turbo-busy days.

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