"Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities." (The Family Proclamation, lds.org)
We had a sliver of heaven yesterday as I was doing the dishes and could hear the sounds of little souls immersed in work all around me. Little noses were pressed to their various grindstones and I walked around the house in reverent astonishment. I tip-toed around the moment, in awe of the newness and the rarity of what I was sensing. I could feel the Spirit brought by work, by effort, and by a united family purpose.
You know us. We're a lively bunch of wiggling arms and legs and active mouths and lungs. We squirm. We fight. We create chaotic messes of thunderous proportions. Normally the energy put into cleaning is parallel to the volume of the whining. Chore-time is usually punctuated with shrieks that someone has put their finger or their knee or their fill-in-the-blank-with-various-offending-body-part in someone else's eye or stomach or fill-in-the-blank-with-various-other-victimized-body-part. Chores usually sound like a war-zone, a cacophony of grunts and clunks and bodies falling limp to the floor.
But yesterday was different.
Yesterday it was quiet as Marie napped and the rest of us worked on the Home part of our house.
Of course, it was the first time in more than 6 years of creatively coercing my troops to help out that I could feel the Spirit of work so tangibly, but it reminded me that the nature of family is based on striving by the "sweat of [our] face," reaching and stretching and trembling. . . and having someone else by our side to lean against in our mutual exertion.
It's no wonder that Heavenly Father talks about both glory and work when he speaks of "bring[ing] to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39). Work without a glorified purpose is dreadful, tedious, and boring. Glory that hasn't come as a result of work isn't real or lasting or eternal.
So next time I'm grinding my teeth as I think about how teaching my kids to work is more work than just working myself. . . I'll remember back to the heavenly hum of yesterday. Sure, that peace probably won't be a constant or even frequent visitor in our home, (I am calmly appreciative, but not delusional!) but at least I know it exists. It gives me something to work for.