August 27, 2014

The Messy Life

When the kids are older, then I'll have time again to organize, I said. Things will be so much tidier, so much more manageable.

As I look around my house and see the piles, I can't help but think of those yearnings for order that have proven so elusive. What a fool I was, I think now.

And yet, am I really surprised?

I think there has to be a bit of a welcoming of disorder to open one's heart to a large family, for one. Add in the fact that most of us are high on the creative spectrum and the truth of the matter comes more assuredly into view.

I'm not making excuses. I care about order. I feel better when things are in place. But I gotta be honest, they're not right now, they haven't been for a while, and I'm not exactly sure anymore when that day is going to arrive, and I'm okay with that.

As a writer-mama, there's a lot to accomplish, and most days, I do what's in my face and work my way down the list. And that's as far as I get. The deep cleaning and organizing? I'm not there and don't know when I will be. I'll do what I can when I can.

Even though the kids are no longer in diapers, the layers have not gone away, and here we are. And as I look around, feeling a little mystified, I realize I have to give myself the excuse, because quite frankly I can't do anything more than what I'm doing.

A friend of mine has been saying she's realized she can only focus on one big project at a time. She can either cook fabulous meals, or have a tidy home, but not both at once. Another time, she said that even if she did have the time to be more organized, she's not sure how much she'd want to delve into it.

I'm like that too. Some people go stir-crazy without order. I go stir-crazy trying to maintain it.

Another factor has to do with my life as a writer. As someone who is creating order daily in her writing, there's only so much of that kind of intense energy it takes to write well to go around. By the time I've done my interviews or collected all the words or written the stories, there's another around the bend, and kids who need me, too. I pull away to tend to what is most obvious in the home and with the kids and that's as far as I can go most days.

Somewhere in this, I am at peace. In the messy, I am finding a way to exist and be at rest. Because every day I am creating life-giving things. On top of the writing and family, I am also engaged in a faith that is vibrant and meaningful.

With these interior things in place, it's not only possible to embrace the mess, but on some level, to be grateful for it. I could not exist in a sterile, barren world for long.

So I come back to gratitude, for having the kind of world that invites in the messy, feeling assured somehow that the more wonderfully strange and varied ingredients go into the pot, the tastier the stew is going to be when it's done simmering.

Q4U: How do you like to create order from chaos? When do you leave well enough alone?


Mary Aalgaard said...

A need to constantly put things away and maintain "order" is not in everyone. We're all different. I was just reading an article that pointed out that what looks messy to one person is actually a different kind of order in another. We don't think in concrete lines, so why would we sort our things that way. We have order, it makes sense to us. And, you what, it doesn't matter. We're all different, have different needs, and different priorities. Enjoy your own unique system!

Vicky said...

I think I could have written this post myself! I always thought too, that when the kids were older I would have more time to clean and stay on top of clutter, etc. And now, despite having bits of time, its the last thing I truly want to invest much energy in. I get by- and once in awhile I shudder, but I've found a 20 minute tornado fest of cleaning by a couple of us and things shape up pretty quick!