Take pains with it
Posted: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 8:01 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt
Do you remember certain things your granny said? Certain things she valued and wanted to pass on to you? My granny valued work. I’m not sure I’ve met anyone on the face of the earth who valued work more than Granny. Some might say she took it a little too far. Digging dandelions out of the yard with a spoon. Waxing the kitchen floor with paste wax because liquid wax was for lazy people. (I’m glad Granny is in heaven and unable to see our kitchen floor. I doubt she’d understand the Pop-Tart™ crumbs or dried-up cheese shreds.) When my mother was a little girl, Granny’s Sunday morning included wringing a chicken’s neck, preparing her Sunday School lesson, cooking Sunday dinner, teaching Sunday School, attending church and entertaining company for lunch. This was a day of rest in her world. She once completely re-did a quilt top because the person who originally made the quilt top, in her words “didn’t take pains with it.” She believed in diligence. If your work was done poorly she wasn’t afraid to say, “You didn’t take pains with that.”
But Granny’s hard work was not without purpose. She sometimes used work as a way to express love. My mother remembers the night Granny stayed up all night to finish sewing a new dress for her high school choir presentation. When Mom woke the next morning, the new dress was hanging in her room, pressed perfectly, and ready to be worn. Granny didn’t make a big deal about the dress or about staying up all night to finish it. She didn’t write a note explaining how much she loved my mom. She hoped that the beautifully-crafted dress would speak those words for her.
I’m very different from Granny. I’ve never dug up dandelions with a spoon. I’ve never waxed a floor. I don’t sweep the porch every day (or every week) and Mr. Clean™ is not an intimate friend. I’ve never even made a quilt top much less re-worked one. I’m a word person. I use words to express love. I use words to express appreciation and emotion. But I have great respect for people who speak love through a hard day’s work.
Our family was blessed to tour one of our local manufacturing plants on Sunday afternoon. We saw in intricate detail what it takes to manufacture quality equipment. It takes sweat, toil, know-how and the intelligence to know when sweat and toil can be replaced with robotic assistance. I was glad our boys were able to see that things don’t just magically appear. Those things are manufactured by hard work and the pride of a job well done. Granny would be proud of the work we witnessed at the manufacturing plant. It’s obvious that they proudly take pains with it. That kind of workmanship inspires me to care more about my own daily labors.
I don’t sew or landscape and I’ve never wrung a chicken’s neck. I know nothing about welding or manufacturing. No one would describe me as an over-achiever. I cook simple meals for my family. I love my husband and two boys (though not perfectly). I speak and write with the desire to encourage people. Yes, Granny, I’m taking pains with it.
Lisa Smart may be contacted at email@example.com
Published in The Messenger 6.15.11
Lisa Smartt, The Smartt View