Preforming pointless tasks is one of my biggest pet peeves. Examples include cleaning my children’s bedrooms, coming home from shopping empty handed or writing articles that never get published. Yet, are they pointless? Does a negative outcome always mean the endeavor was without purpose? What about the saying that ‘everything happens for a reason’? Does faith give each moment a meaningful purpose? I am a person of faith; I know what I should believe. But there are those times when our best efforts seem, well, frustratingly pointless.
The other day, about five minutes after my daughter left for school, I read an email from a teacher that she needed a certain prop for drama class that day. So, I decided to be a ‘good mother’ and make my way down to the school to deliver the prop.
For those of you who are not familiar with my neighborhood, the school is approximately a thirty second drive from my home unless there is school traffic, in which case, it’s a fifteen-minute drive. By the time I was ready to leave the school traffic was in full swing, so I placed the car keys back in their spot and walked to school. In the winter this is a pleasant seven-minute walk, but in the summer it’s a brutal, sweaty drudgery I’d rather not go on. But for my child I’ll do almost anything, right?
I walked to her classroom and she was not there. I found one of my other girls in the hallway and asked if they could give over the prop to their sister. They agreed and I left the school building. As I made my way to the parking lot, I heard “Mommy” being called out. I turned to see that she had the prop in her hand. My daughter had come to thank me; my heart swelled as I opened my arms to give her a hug.
She handed back the prop to me and blurted out, “I don’t need this today Mommy.”
“Are you sure?” I insisted, shoving the prop back in her hand.
Then I watched as skipped back to class. To top it off, a soccer ball then hit me in the leg. A young boy held up his hand to apologize. I guess I had it coming since I was standing in the middle of the daily soccer match by the entrance of the school.
When I arrived back at home, I pulled out my exercise mat and began performing a ‘downward dog’. Why had I gone to school? My inner voice chided me. Thirty minutes wasted on a pointless venture. Thirty minutes I could have spent doing yoga, laundry, or writing. What had I accomplished besides gaining a bruise on my leg? Then it hit me.
I could have shoved the prop back at my daughter and demanded she take it. I could have yelled at the kid who gave me a bruise and I could have lashed out at the woman who blocked the sidewalk with her car. I could have done all those things, but I didn’t. I had conquered the anger that came from frustration, something I have been working on since I was a little girl.
My realization gave me a renewed sense of happiness; I no longer felt the pain in my leg as I attempted the ‘warrior three’ position. Later, I ignored a rude comment on Facebook and when I found plates of half eaten food in the girl’s rooms, I held my tongue until I was calm and gave them the “the no eating in your room speech.” I felt invincible; anger had nothing on me. Something I would never have learned without that “pointless” journey to the school earlier that morning; which made me see that maybe, just maybe, what I view as pointless may have purpose after all.