I don’t have a career. I have a job. It’s not a bad job at all, but it’s not the kind of work that changes people’s lives (for good or for ill) or – like a doctor’s or lawyer’s or reporter’s – is filled with action or big issues. It is the kind of work that lets me work from home and put food on the round pedestal table in our open-floorplan kitchen.
It’s 5:00 AM and an hour and a half from now, there will be scrambling and a mad rush out the door to meet the school bus at the end of our dirt road. Then there will be a brief calm before the workday begins. Except for the days I go to the country store, I won’t see another human being until the Big Guy rolls in with our two boys after the school bus brings them home. It’s literally a very small life.
But somewhere among the eat-your-peanut-butter-sandwich and passing-the-potatoes, at some point during the how-was-your-day’s and even on nights when the Big Guy or I might be licking a wound from a careless comment or Thirteen-year-old Thing1 is barely speaking to us because of a lost privilege, we each know our small life is pretty good.
There aren’t any late model cars in the driveway. I can’t remember the last time we sat down to dinner with 4 matching plates. There’s always dust spontaneously generating around furniture, and the next big bill is always just waiting around the corner.
But there’s also always safety. There’s always food on the table. There’s always a fire in the wood stove warming us when we need it and when we don’t, we’re still at the kitchen table making our own magic.
So, this morning, even though it’s not cold outside and even though I have a room designated as an office down the hall, at 5am, I’m already settled at the kitchen table near the wood stove. It’s not just the heat that draws me here. For me, the kitchen table is where the action – valuable and small – happens.