Friday, October 8, 2010

unending tasks.

Now that I’ve been living in an apartment for nearly three months, I’m beginning to empathize with the frequent utterances I grew up hearing from my mom about housework and how exhaustingly unending it is.

i’ve learned that no matter how many dishes I put away, there will be more that are dirty within less than 24 hours; no matter how huge a load I pull hot from the dryer, the clothes I’m wearing as I do it will start a new pile in the hamper by bedtime; no matter how perfectly my bed is made, it will need making again by the morning.

There are a zillion tasks in life with which we will literally never be finished. Sometimes they’re exhausting, sometimes they’re a welcomed, mindless, break, sometimes we live in denial of them until we can no longer stand it and they have to be done.

As I was running today (which I’m now allowed to do under certain time constraints) I was thinking about how thankful I am that I’m no longer on a constant mission to lose weight. When I was stuck in my eating disorder I lived to pour myself into a goal that was constantly one step ahead of me. no matter how low my weight got, as soon as it got there, the “perfect weight” became a few pounds lower.

I started to think about life’s constant tasks- like the one’s I mentioned above- and I imagined how empty life would be if things like laundry or cleaning the bathroom or vacuuming were all-consuming endeavors. It would be awful and incredibly sad for someone to devote all their thoughts, emotions, energy and health to something they’d never really see the fruits of.

Thankfully, housework is simple and mindless and aside from occasional inconvenience and the fact that it keeps things sanitary and orderly, it really doesn’t affect anyone’s life story or longevity.

Eating disorders are not so light a burden. Although housework is not demanding of much other than superficial effort, an eating disorder requires the entirety of a life devoted towards an unending cause to continue.

There was a time when I thought I’d have my eating disorder for the rest of my life. Looking back, I don’t know I how I didn’t realize what daunting demands it laid before me. I don’t know how I missed the fact that it was asking for my life- be it in living enslavement or death. I don’t know why it didn’t phase me that I was signing myself away for something at which I’d eternally fail.

But now that I’ve backed out and now that I’ve walked across the hot coals that pave the way out of the cave I dug myself into in the first place, it’s the best feeling in the world to breathe easy, and to know that some things (my body being the main thing at this point in my life) are actually finished.

Of course there are a handful of things (that are primarily faith-related) that we will never achieve but we’re intended to work towards regardless. But aside from these things, I’ve got a hundred goals I’m aiming towards, all of which have a foreseeable end. It would be tragic to let some unreachable task steal my heart and my energy towards these goals, all for its parasitic self, and that’s just what my eating disorder did.

From the superficial-most parts to the uttermost parts of who I am, it’s a true relief to know that I’ve got one less unending task to accomplish. My day’s are no longer poured into a black hole of an effort, but invested into a life that I pray brings and will bring glory to my father.

be it perfectionism or material wealth or any other myriad of unquenchable thirsts, there’s a moment of peace after fleeting accomplishment that briefly satisfies, only to leave a longing for the same peace again.

True peace is not something that is chased, but waiting to envelope us when we choose to stop running. It reaches farther than unending tasks, and it passes our human understanding as it is promised to rest in our hearts outside of any effort of our own, other than to choose it.

I would never want anything else.



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