Every little thing we do has meaning. Doing nothing has meaning. Some things have special significance, others simply have to be done, and some of the best things are random and surprising in their occurrence and satisfaction.
Priorities play a large part in assigning meaning to a task. We assign value to what we do, even more so than in the past when there were fewer choices. I find that I try to make everything I choose to do meaningful. If I go through life thinking that this is too mundane, or that is beneath me and not worth my effort, then my life is less meaningful. I try, with varying success, to do even the smallest tasks to the best of my ability, knowing that they are part of a bigger picture, whether they relate to my home life or working life. It’s far better to think that what I do has importance and relevance. It’s also relates to my character and my self-worth.
Since I have trouble staying on task, I attempt to immerse myself in even the smallest things, liking ironing a shirt, cleaning a toilet, sewing on a button, so that it becomes the most important thing I’m doing at that moment. (That doesn’t mean I ,may not watch HGTV while doing it.) My kitchen floor is a bone of contention. Less than a year old, and it’s a disaster because it shows everything — dust, crumbs, water drops, and smudges. Still I faithfully wash it trying to get everything spotless at least twice a week. For a short period of time I feel a sense of achievement though I know within a few days I’ll be doing the same ordinary task again. Knowing I did it well is enough for the moment.
I help once a week at my elementary school’s library. I enjoy inputting data the most, but at least half my time is spent covering new books with contact paper. Boring. I trying to make it less so by making each book a challenge — to do it as well as I possibly can, not cutting corners (figuratively and actually) and doing the best I can. When I’m doing something that doesn’t challenge my intelligence, I let the quality of the work be my goal, and in this case the knowledge that the book will last longer for more kids to read.
If we let ourselves believe that anything we do is meaningless, we miss the point. Life is meant to be lived to the best of our abilities at any given time. That means focusing on the moment and making it the best and most fulfilling it can be.
To quote the very wise Mother Teresa: “If you can’t do great things, do little things with great love. If you can’t do them with great love, do them with a little love. If you can’t do them with a little love, do them anyway.”