Whenever my mother comes to visit, she always surprises me with her enthusiasm for changing diapers. She literally jumps at the chance to change my son's diapers. Of course, I let her. Most of the time, diaper changes are gross, and here, where we use cloth, they involve putting my hands into the toilet. But as thrilled as she is to do such a dirty task, I would never go so far as to say that she enjoys changing a diaper for the mere act of changing a diaper. Rather, I'm fairly certain that she sees it as an opportunity to bond with her grandchild, and she finds pleasure in taking care of him.
I have yet to meet a woman who would claim that changing a diaper for the sake of changing of diaper brings happiness. The act is by nature unpleasant. The joy comes from knowing that the mother is taking care of her child.
Likewise, the act of labor is by nature unpleasant. No woman could (or, perhaps to be politically correct, as some would challenge me- few women can) could find any amount of bliss in the midst of the pain if it were not for the knowledge that she was bringing forth a new life.
And yet, we seem to think that perpetual bliss is attainable, and we set out to structure our lives in such a way that we eliminate the things that are uncomfortable, annoying, or gross, so that we can have the pleasure without having to do any of the work.
The irony here is that this requires us to push those uncomfortable tasks off on someone else. We hire another woman to change the diapers, hang out the wash, make the beds, and scrub the toilets. We gladly cook the meals, but expect our husbands do the dishes. Consequently the pursuit of happiness often comes at the expense of another's happiness. Who could argue that a hired woman could find pleasure in the act of scrubbing a toilet? While she may appreciate the paycheck, the tasks of her job prevent her from obtaining perpetual bliss. Structuring our lives in such a way that we force another person to do the unhappy jobs we've been given only results in a social hierarchy where certain people are allowed spend their days doing only that which brings pleasure, and the rest of the people are there to clean up their messes.
As Christians, we were never promised happiness. We were encouraged to be content. And, at times, we may find that being content is extraordinarily difficult, and that life is unfair. But we were called to many and various vocations, and those vocations will require us to do the uncomfortable, annoying, and downright gross jobs that the people around us need us to do for them. And it's because of that relationship we have with those around us that we find the satisfaction. Our relationship with each other drives us to serve, and to serve contentedly, for it is through our service to one another that Christ is meeting the needs of his people.