The rubber rat plopped into the toilet, missing the intended wastebasket by inches. As I stood looking down on the vile thing swirling gently around the bowl on its back, I could only wonder how, pray tell, does one go about removing a rubber rat from one’s toilet? I feel like this answer should appear on page 746 of the Mothering for Dummies Handbook. I’m still waiting for someone to gift me a copy of that book. In the meantime, I’ve fished out the offending rodent with a metal hanger and tossed both in the trash.
On the rat-trashing days of motherhood, I’m ever so grateful for Tim Keller’s insights into the lofty value of work. It’s easy to get discouraged by the rat race of mothering: breakfast that has to be prepared for the 366th day in a row, the socks that have just emerged from the laundry worn now across a muddy lawn, shoes that disappear and reappear at unpredictable intervals, toys that enjoy a natural state of entropy no matter how many times I banish them to organized bins, kitchen counters that mess themselves the second I turn my back. Sometimes this job seems like a meaningless repetition of mundanities.
Then my attitude gets a tune-up. Tim Keller sashays into my kitchen, observes the pile of dirty breakfast dishes and the trail of toys leading from stove to playroom, and he pats me on the back.
I’m not fishing for rats or bleaching socks for no purpose.
I’m molding the raw material of creation–the food, fibers, and fun of life–into structures that lift up my children and husband. There’s no such thing as mundane if the result is the betterment of my beloved ones. For that goal, I’ll gladly work around the clock.
I can stand a little taller and throw back my shoulders with a jaunty swagger as I scramble eggs in the morning.
But let the record show that as far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing and no one who can elevate fishing for rats to anything other than bleh, yech, and ick. The next time a rubber rat appears in my toilet, I’m calling in sick.