Doing the Simple Tasks

Mrs. David D. Jones - Greensboro, North Carolina
Broadcast during the 1950s

As a housewife, educator and church leader in Greensboro, North Carolina, Susie Jones believes spiritual fulfillment comes from attending to the mundane chores of daily life.

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It seems to me that mothers and homemakers of all people need to know what they believe. If what they believe is vital and glowing, it takes them above the drudgery of routines, housecleaning, cooking the meals, nursing the sick husband, and doing church and civic chores as well. I think that as a homemaker, my beliefs must be creative, and I must see in things of hand, a challenge for my best efforts.

It has always seemed to me important to do the things at hand. As my father constantly quotes from Thomas Carlyle, “Do the duty which lies nearest thee which thy knowest to be a duty. Thy second duty will always have become clear.” I firmly believe the old hymn-writer who said, “The trivial round, the common task, can furnish all we ought to ask.” When we see within each task, its relationship to our growth and to the happiness of others. Serving a meal, making a bed, bathing a child, visiting a friend, entertaining guests, preparing a mission study lesson, canvassing the neighborhood to encourage registration for voting: These routines of daily life, it seems to me, can be means of discipline and means of increasing self-esteem. Doing these simple tasks as worthy ends in themselves has given me great satisfaction. Great enrichment of life has come from the end of things I have been able to do with my family, my friends and my community. Distant tasks may seem more glamorous and more alluring, but our only chance I think, of bringing in the Kingdom of God, is to work at the thing at hand.

I have come to believe firmly in the goodness of people, in the worth of every man, woman and child. The few who have become distorted by forces in our society do not lesson this belief for me., In my limited contacts, I have been constantly amazed at the goodness, the abilities, the devotion, and deep concern of people. In many unexpected places, i have found beauty and love, faith, hope and wisdom, and a generous heart. So I have grown to believe firmly in the dignity and worth of every human being.

The words of an old spiritual have intrigued me for years. It goes, “Wade in the water, children, wade in the water. God’s going to trouble the waters.” This lead me to express my third conviction, that all growth is attended by struggle and suffering. Although I believe that our universe is in God’s hands, and we are his, I am still striving for a sense of oneness with God. This same struggle carries over into achieving every deepening and meaningful relationship with family, friends and community. The exhilaration that comes from this struggle, however, has kept me consciously striving for the good life. This I believe.

Susie Jones was a housewife and educator in Greensboro, North Carolina. She worked at Bennett College for Women, where her husband, David Dallas Jones, was president for many years. Jones served as the first president and vice-president of the United Council of Church Women in North Carolina between 1944 and 1946.