Sunday, May 13, 2012
As a teenager I occasionally had moments of spontaneous helpfulness. I’d wake up and say to myself, “Today I am going to clean the kitchen for Mom.” Deeply satisfied with my initiative, I would spend the day soaking in the satisfaction of being a wonderful son. Then I’d return home from school and my mother would greet me, ask how my day had gone and tell me she needed me to clean the kitchen. And I’d bristle with resentment.
With that simple command my initiative hardened into a burden, and cleaning became one task among many other unwelcome requirements of the day. My desire to clean the kitchen had been an exercise of love, but now something had shifted inside of me, turning my gift into affliction.
This article is available to subscribers only. Please subscribe for full access—subscriptions begin at $2.95. Already have an online account? Log in now. Already a print subscriber? Create an online account for no additional cost.