If bananas thrived in Alabama, my family and I would be eating banana leaves using bare hands every single meal. Scratch that. For all meals, we’d have bananas all day long so I can dispense with cooking. Then we’d all have to wear disposable banana leaves uniforms as clothes every single day. Also, anyone under four feet will be wrapped in an airtight cocoon of banana leaves so that every hair, crumb and sand falls on the outerwear which they would conveniently remove outdoors, thus minimizing my vacuuming and scrubbing schedule.
You see where I’m going with this? If you don’t, I’ll spell it out for you: Bananas are the alternative to a chore-less existence. This is the reason why monkeys live a carefree life. (If you don’t believe this is true, then explain to me why the male chimpanzees get to swing from vine to vine all day long and why the female apes get to lounge around styling each other’s hair.)
Back to my thesis: I wish Alabama was a Banana Republic. But our lone banana plant lost its leaves to Japanese beetles over the summer and hasn’t flowered in fruits so I’ve figured the more realistic solution to dealing with chores (and other unpleasant tasks): sanctifying them. This means doing sacrifices with great love for God, thereby sanctifying them.
Now I can’t claim credit for this because St. Therese in her autobiography The Story of a Soul actually started this spirituality. She summarizes her little way: “Far from being like to those great souls who from their childhood practice all sorts of macerations, I made my mortification consist solely in the breaking of my will, restraining a hasty word, rendering little services to those around me without making anything of it, and a thousand other things of this kind.”
I’ve put a spin on the “little way” by motivating myself to believe that each unpleasant thing I do is like a soul that needs to be saved. I don’t claim credit for this either –this is from a friend with childlike faith.
For instance, when I’m scraping off another pasty rice grain, I’m training myself to think: not only do I love my family enough to provide them with clean dishes instead of banana leaves, but I offer up each plate and fork for a soul precious to God that needs to be washed in Jesus’ blood and returned to a life of grace.
When I’m sorting through unmatched wooly socks, I think: not only do my family’s toes deserve to be warm but I offer each sock for a soul in purgatory that longs to find union with Jesus. When I sweep crumbs, I think: not only does my family’s living space require germ-free health but I offer up each debris for a soul on earth that’s fallen away and should to be swept back into the fold of the Church.
Now as for whiffing those toilet woes, by golly, I’m taking the apple-cinnamon air freshener out. I have to accept that there are souls that have chosen to stay in hell and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Before you romanticize my mundane life, let me assure you, I don’t think happy, spiritual thoughts every single second. Most of the time, I’m on the go from one chore to another and just rely on my catch-all morning offering.
On the other hand, if you think I’m bananas to be thinking about souls, heaven, hell and purgatory so much, that’s alright. It’s true anyway –both the existence of the afterlife and that I think about it and live for eternity. In my defense, I’d rather be bananas for God and heaven than find out too late that my life was wasted monkeying around in banana-leaf-chore theories.