Carefree or Careless?

Archaeologists have discovered 1000-year-old skeletons with bones that have healed from breakage. This indicates that these pre-historic humans were injured and had enough resources and time to heal. The only way this is possible is if their clan took care of them, protected and fed them until they were able to recover and begin contributing again. The story of humanity is one of care.

When we leave the safety of our homes we are often bombarded with challenges and dangers. The burdens of partaking in society are immense. Upon arriving home we want to take off these burdens and be carefree. We want to be able to walk around in our underwear, speak our mother tongue, spoon ice cream straight from the container and for the most part, this is okay. Our homes are sanctuaries of revival and healing, spaces to be carefree. When does being carefree turn into being careless?

As a young boy in my rush to leave home in time to meet my friends for our walk to school, I would leave a big mess in the bedroom I shared with my sister. Wet toothbrush on the sideboard, toothpaste squeezed from the middle, pyjamas and books on the ground. I did this because I knew I would come back home and clean the mess I’d made and things would be as they were. However, this was wrong, leaving the room in disrepair meant that it would be that way the whole day, whoever needed to use the sideboard would need to move my wet toothbrush and wipe down the surface before going about what they needed to do. I got to be carefree but everyone else was burdened.

When our ability to be carefree comes at the expense of others, without their consent, we are careless. We indicate that we believe our energy and time is more important than theirs. This too applies to ourselves. When we leave our evening dishes unwashed, without reason*, we say to our future selves, “I don’t care about your need for a mug tomorrow morning!”

I learned this lesson as a young boy when my sister sat me down and explained what it costs her to shoulder both her duties alongside mine. How it made her feel that I did not care about all that she must do. How small considerations could make the next person's day. I now show my love for those in my life by performing acts of service — I squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom, replace my clothes where they belong, ready my coffee making station the night before — myself included.