So today was hot, and for chores I was assigned to empty a dump truck load of mulch into the garden using a pitchfork and a wheelbarrow. Scoop, dump, scoop, dump, until my muscles ached. I was covered in sweat, and dust from the mulch stuck to my skin. One of my housemates was helping, but she didn’t have as much stamina, and I ended up doing most of the brunt work. But somewhere in the midst of working I decided I wasn’t going to complain. It wasn’t going to change what I had to do. So between pitchforkfuls I started singing.
I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart
I will enter
His courts with praise.
I will say this is the day
has made. I will rejoice for He has made me glad.
And another pitchforkful slid into the wheelbarrow. Gratitude is a choice, and it changes things. I began to take pleasure in the work. I realized I had things to be grateful for, like the chance to work with my hands, to feel the satisfied ache of muscles capable of rising to the challenge of a dump truck full of mulch. I wasn’t in school. I was out on a farm, getting dirty, and I’m convinced that God created the human spirit to enjoy labor in this way, that when we sit in offices behind computers all our lives we miss something of what it means to be human. Using a pitchfork made me feel alive, hearty, legit. And there was beauty even in the dirt and sweat, evidence that says this day is real, not fake, that I’m living it, and that I’m grateful to be alive, to be healthy. This is the day the Lord has made. I had a thousand moments when I could’ve complained in the next couple hours when the sun grew hotter, when I had to sit in the shade gulping water and catching my breath. But I kept pulling my heart back to gratitude. I will rejoice and be glad in it.
Now, sitting at the end of it, I can say it’s been a great day. The shower after working was amazing, lunch tasted wonderful. I was on my feet in the kitchen all afternoon canning dilly beans, jalapeno jelly, and salsa, and have enjoyed listening to the pop of the jar lids as they seal into place. The stovetop is cooling, the dishes are washed. Falling asleep is going to feel so deserved. A day well-lived, well-worked. A day full of grace to accept good things from Yeshua, in whatever form they take—even mulch and pitchforks.