I attended a school so small that two grade levels were combined into a classroom. Being so, myself and a dozen other fifth and sixth graders had Mrs. Jones as our teacher in 1986.
We’d heard horror stories about her, one, because she’d get out her paddle to give you birthday spankings (I was getting mine in the picture below), and two, she was rumored to have stepped on eleven-year-old feet who insisted on being in the aisle instead of underneath their desk.
Still, fifth and sixth grade were the first years we got lockers. And every week we’d find a magnetic letter strip noting a handwritten assignment on our locker door. Mrs. Jones gave us jobs.
I always secretly hoped I’d get to be the “Film Person”. There was nothing that felt more important than getting to load the filmstrip onto the reel as our class gathered into the library for a lesson or, every now and then, a little entertainment.
I’d load it up and then I’d enjoy the show, not counting the times I took a short nap because what we were watching was a little less than thrilling.
Loading the film was my favorite job, but I loved having most any assignment; a reminder I mattered.
I’m no different today in that I still love tending to most things I’ve been tasked to, or volunteered for.
I continue to want to be purposeful, though I notice my attitude these days is a little lacking.
It’s often no longer about doing the job. Inseparable from what I’m tasked to do is often the silent and rather grueling assessments I give myself charge over.
Did I do a good enough job?
Were my efforts understood? Appreciated? Criticized?
I don’t recall worrying about all that on days when I was the “Film Person.”
We all have assignments. Some we’re excited over and passionate about. Other jobs we complete out of a sense of duty or necessity (because, you know, there are bills, or nobody else would do it, or we were asked to.)
Whatever appointment you’re working through today, consider focusing on getting the task done to the best of your ability.
Be careful to know where your job ends and begins. Keep in mind that you’re responsible for loading the filmstrip, but not for those watching the film.
Don’t neglect to find joy in those things you’ve been privileged to be a part of. Be grateful, relax and enjoy the show. If it’s not all that enjoyable, maybe you can be like the simple film person I once knew and you can find satisfaction that you’ve done your part, and then catch a little rest.
Contentment is found by staying inside our calling to work, enjoy and rest.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”