I think I should keep tabs on all the sacrifices big sisters have to make. At the top of the list would be never eating my own bag of popcorn—never. In all my sixteen years, I have had only one uninhibited indulgence in popcorn, when I tagged along with my friend to the movie theater and bought my own carton. The shock was so overwhelming that I felt sick afterward. (It might have had something to do with buying a medium instead of a small, but that doesn’t build my argument.) The whole process of making popcorn—the rustling plastic, the popping kernels, the microwave beep—is an open invitation for little siblings to snitch handfuls at a time.
I’ve tried. I’d sneak into the kitchen and pop a bag, and if any hungry-looking sibling came in following his nose, I’d put my foot down and say, “This time it’s all mine.”
“But Bailey,” the three-year-old would reason, “I just want some.”
Being cute should be criminal. He gets away with a bowl full of my popcorn every single time.
Popcorn isn’t the only violated holy ground. I can’t sit down and read St. Augustine’s Confessions without this adorable little curlytop crawling into my lap and grinning at me. Then she places The Poky Little Puppy in my hands and squeals. Even slightly older cuties steal my reading time. Just a couple hours ago one interrupted me to cut an apple. Again. (Whoever invents a kid-friendly apple slicer—my deepest thanks.)
A couple years ago, when my grandmamma was over visiting, my baby brother desired apple juice—a daily task that includes researching whether he’s reached his quota for the day or is, indeed, due for another sugar boost. He desired, as I said, apple juice, and quite frankly, “Bailey, I want apple juice” right when I’m sitting down is not welcome. But company was over, so I grumbled half-heartedly and said something about how I always have to get him apple juice, how inconvenienced I was, how much I longed for a professional apple juice pourer. Compared to other outbursts of frustration, this was tame.
Yet my grandmamma pointed out, “Bailey, remember that you’re a servant.”
Me? You. A servant.
That’s what I am. That’s the radical expression of the radical grace I’ve been shown—a slave to Christ, a handmaid to His will. And my domain is my home. This is something I’ve been trying to pound into my head, my heart, my life: There is never a task that is “not mine.” There is never an excuse to say, “That’s not my job.” There is never a minute of my life that is completely my own. Why? If I am surrendered, than I am all Christ’s—and interruptions become divine calling.
It’s so easy to get caught up in entitlement: “I’ve already made supper and done my chores and picked up the toys for good measure—now it’s rest time.” That or rigid servanthood: “Once all the checks on my list are in place, I’m done. Freedom!”
But no. That baby sister crawling on my lap—God guided her there and is now saying, “Here is your life. Here is your calling. Read to her. Love her. Hold her close.” Those interruptions during school? Those interfering hands in the mixing bowl? Those little lives tagging along after my friends and me? That is my life. That is my calling.
That means we don’t get a chance to scream out, “I hate this! I shouldn’t have to do this! This isn’t my job!” Not once. Not ever. Not me.
Freelance servanthood means seeing what needs to be done and doing it—even if it’s as simple as starting a load of laundry (though by rights my sister should be doing it) or emptying the dishwasher for my brother (though I’m already making dinner and holding a bib fashion show and cleaning up the kitchen). It’s not about me. It’s not about “my job.”
My job? It’s whatever falls into my lap—literally or figuratively. Now about that poky puppy.
Bailey @ Big House in the Little Woods
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