I’m the new girl again. After 10 years of living off the coast of Kalimantan, we have moved to the other side of Indonesia, to the province of Papua.
There is a steep learning curve––new stores to learn, new way of driving (the traffic lights go from red to yellow to green . . . still trying to figure that one out), new weather patterns to learn, and new people groups to get to know.
But one thing is back-achingly familiar––the unending and tedious housework that comes with life here, and the exhaustion I feel after a day of said housework.
Just coming back from furlough, my housekeeping muscles are pretty weak. Not that I was a total slob when staying with our parents, but loading the dishwasher and running the vacuum in a climate-controlled and convenience-oriented home is a whole different animal from mopping floors, hand washing dishes, and hanging out laundry in the tropics.
I am thankful for housework. I mean, might as well be thankful for it, since it’s an inevitable, right? And while I don’t love housework, there are definitely some benefits from it––besides the obvious (we eat, have clean clothes, and have fairly-clean floors).
Housework shapes my soul. I find I have more time to think, and to pray. Pushing a mop back and forth across the floor, different people and situations come to mind, and I pray for them. Mindless tasks can become meaningful times of prayer, if I’m intentional about making them so.
Housework gets me outside. Lugging the laundry basket to the backyard, I can look up and see magnificent Cyclops Mountain behind our house. The ritual of hanging up our clean laundry makes for strong arms, and gets me a good dose of vitamin D. And there’s nothing like the smell of clothes fresh off a clothesline––that amazing mix of sunshine and wind.
My housekeeping duties are definitely not fodder for any newsletter (“Dear Supporters, can you believe it? Natalie mopped the floors, again!!!”), but they’re a very real and necessary aspect of life over here.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, the toilet needs scrubbing.