Laundry seems to just generate itself! You get it all clean, folded, and put away… task accomplished. But the next day you now have dirty laundry from the day before! And where does all of the dust come from?! You dust the tables and shelves, put all of the knickknacks back in their places, and bask in the enjoyment of how nice it looks; it seems like the next thing you know there’s dust on the tables and shelves, as if you had never dusted! You cook and eat, and later you need to eat and cook again. The cyclical nature of life just never seems to let up! The problem, as I have come to understand it, is not that things need to be done repeatedly, but that I want them to be done without having to do them! Happiness, on the other hand, doesn’t care what I think… it requires compliance with Life’s demands!
A lot of our unhappiness comes about from our not wanting to surrender. We would rather be the tourists who come, stay for a while, and then leave instead of being the staff who have to repeatedly clean up after those who come and go. When I get into one of those moods when “I just don’t want to” I sometimes recall an incident related to me by some friends. It seems that a friend of theirs, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, was in the hospital at an advanced age and in ill-health; they decided to go and visit him. As they came down the hall towards his room, from within the room they heard him say in outrage, “But I am the Archbishop of Philadelphia and All-Pennsylvania!!!” They stopped in their tracks, unsure of what was going on. The next thing they heard was the voice of the nurse in the room attending to the Archbishop say, “Well that’s fine honey but you just get those feets back up into that bed!”
Life, like that nurse, is constantly demanding that we do what needs to be done no matter how we might feel about the matter. The sooner we stop not-wanting-to the quicker we can be happy! And why does it take us so long to learn such a simple truth?