What am I doing instead? Making the most of precious gifts of time

Do you iron your sheets? Your tablecloths? Your underwear?

Yeah, I don’t either. But our ancestors did.

They did so because the natural fabrics used in the past wrinkled enthusiastically, and because the water used to wash them was not so clean. Ironing was more than cosmetic—it helped to sterilize.

My fleece sheets don’t wrinkle, and my washing machine cleans them thoroughly, so I’m spared spending time ironing them.

What am I doing instead?

wringer-washerIn my early childhood we (and by that I mean my mother) still used a wringer washer at our farmhouse. Mom spent hours over the machine, feeding each piece of clothing through the wringer individually.

Today, I put a load of laundry in my washing machine and walk away, so I’m spared spending time rinsing each piece.

What am I doing instead?

singerIn the past, most mothers pinched pennies by peddling their Singer sewing machines to make homemade clothing.

These days most fabrics cost more than finished pieces of clothing sold in stores, and sewing isn’t my passion, so I’m spared spending time sewing my clothes.

What am I doing instead?

So many labour-saving devices have freed up my time to do other things. I could volunteer with a local charity to help others, or I could surf the internet. I could spend time with my kids, or I could catch up on the missed episodes of Sherlock. I could get some exercise, or I could wade through more Game of Thrones? (Heaven help me, why did I start reading that series?)

The brother of my great-grandfather hoeing his garden

One of my ancestors hoeing his garden

When I think of my ancestors ploughing fields behind horses, digging stumps with shovels, canning their own food, making all their bread from scratch, cutting and chopping the wood they’d need to keep themselves warm all winter, milking the cows, churning their butter, collecting their eggs, slaughtering their meat, digging their own water well, building their furniture, and on, and on, and on, I feel an awesome responsibility to cherish each second of time I am spared from doing all of those things. But too often I wake in a warm house I didn’t have to build a fire to heat, I toast bread I didn’t bake, I pour milk I didn’t have to touch a cow to get, and I take it all for granted. Too often I crack an egg I didn’t have to snatch out from underneath the warm bottom of hen, I open a tin of tomatoes I didn’t grow in a garden or can for myself, and I fry up bacon from an animal I didn’t feed or muck out, and I don’t appreciate those things as gifts.

They are more than gifts of nourishment and comfort. They are gifts of time—time I didn’t have to spend procuring them.

And what am I doing instead? Am I doing the most I can with those precious moments?

Right now, I’m going to stand up in my warm house, I’m going to walk to my kitchen, open my tap and appreciate water I don’t have to walk far to retrieve or pump to bring up to me. I’m going to fill a kettle and heat it without having to build a fire in a wood stove. I’m going to pour that water over tea leaves from a plant that isn’t even native to this country, and that I didn’t have to grow or harvest. Then I’m going to pour in milk that has been pasteurized and skimmed for me. I’m going to hold that hot mug in my hands on this cold day, and I’m going to close my eyes and savour the aroma, and I’m going to cherish those precious gifts of nourishment, comfort and time. And then I’m going to do something valuable with my day.


About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on January 24, 2014, in good faith, Gratitude, How do you define success?, Inspiration, Living life to the fullest and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Great message Arlene, thanks. Being grateful is so important.

  2. I do remember how wringer washer and put rubber diapers through that wringer diapers and explodes and I ruined a couple of shirts
    Did you ever get anything caught in a wringer?or ruined a couple of shirts?
    I remember the wringer washer diapers wrapped around the wringer,If it does, an article of the wash may
    wrap several times around a roller before it is noticed; unwinding such a
    piece is often difficult, sometimes impossible without removing a roller .
    Its you’re already happened?
    Being grateful is so important.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Millennial Pastor

An iPhone Pastor for a Typewriter Church

Invest In YourSelf First!!

Only We Can Change our Life, No one Else Do it For Us


awakening to the sacred feminine presence in our lives

Dr. Jen Gunter

Wielding the lasso of truth

and the words that echo..

a lot of words...

Hurry Up & Wait

Random thoughts and a collection of ideas, stories and photos

Alex on Faith

Growing in faith together!

Be Different "BUT" Be Yourself

Journey from severe depression - Self healing - Acceptance - Learning - Growth - Connecting - Understanding - Being Unique


« me arrodillo por las noches ante tigres que no me dejarán ser - lo que fuiste no será otra vez - los tigres me han encontrado pero no me importa. »

La Audacia de Aquiles

"El Mundo Visible es Sólo un Pretexto" / "The Visible World is Just a Pretext".-

Moral Fibre

Musings of She who Knits in Churches


comida italiana



The Godly Chic Diaries

Smiling • Writing • Dreaming

Be Blogger (Official)

Writing is all about finding the courage to write. And courage is all about realizing that some things are more important than fear.

Yellingrosa's Weblog

Poetry, Visual Arts, Music and IT Tech


Breathe, read...smile


Simple made easy! psychology love feeling emotion thought behaviour success strategy

%d bloggers like this: