Have you ever thought, "This isn't exactly how I thought my life would turn out," followed by any varying degree of disappointment?
Yeah. I think we've all been there at one point, haven't we? I mean, let's face it. The daily grunge can get...well, grungy. After earning my Associates, I quit school to help my husband get his degree with the least amount of debt possible. Three kids later, I am with kids all day--which is really fun sometimes and I LOVE being a mother--but the menial and mundane start to take over fast. "If I had a nickel for every time..." runs through my head A LOT. I get down on myself because I haven't finished school yet, I feel brain cells wasting away with every load of laundry, and there are times when I think (not that I'm proud of myself, but I'm trying to be honest here), "If I could just hunker down with a good book whenever I want, spend more time with friends, more time in a meaningful position in my church congregation, then I would be truly happy."
I just read an article in the Ensign, the LDS church's monthly magazine, about a woman who was struggling with being "behind the scenes" taking care of her children while her husband participated in the community's Nativity at Christmas time. She said she felt jealous of him and sometimes wished that she could be the one with the big important role. As she watched the scene with the Shepherds, a shepherd yelled back to the one who had stayed behind, saying, "Aren't you coming?"
"I'll stay with the sheep," came the reply.
This answer struck me to the very core. Somebody HAD to stay with the sheep. That was their job, their livelihood. If the sheep got lost, all those shepherds would be in for it. And the sheep, well, they'd be lost. Somebody had to miss out and do the unexciting, wearisome work so that others could fully partake in the joys of that night and the sheep would be there in the morning. I think of all the times that I have felt like I was missing out when that wasn't necessarily the case.
I love watching my children grow. I love answering their questions about life, the Savior, His doctrines. I love serving the people around me in a little ways. We will never regret helping someone who needs it. Most times we won't regret helping someone who didn't.
I think of my children and I see their primary teachers, teachers who may get frustrated and "want out" sometimes. I am so thankful that they teach my kids. That they show love to them. They are staying with my little lambs.
I look at the people around me who I am asked by my Father in Heaven to help (including my family), and I see the job that somebody has to do. That somebody is ME. And the work is IMPORTANT. Mundane, sometimes. Stinky, yes--especially when I haven't showered for two days. A pain in the rear, most definitely.
But it can be sweet. Rewarding. Fulfilling.
We all have a job to do. That's really what it is. A job. And jobs aren't fun, most times. So, no matter your position in life, don't be discouraged. Stay with the sheep. And if you don't have sheep, find some. Chances are, you won't regret it.
*The account of the shepherd is, of course, not historically accurate per se, but thought provoking.
**I have to give a shout out to my friend, Desiree, who brought the discussion up and inspired this message.