There are times when I am consumed with the activities of the day, constantly flitting from one task to another, that when I come to a complete stop I look around and think to myself, “Gosh, look at this mess.” As I type this, there are currently folded clothes waiting to be put in to their respective drawers, crumbs on the table from breakfast, and a large root beer spill on the kitchen floor. In these moments, I think to myself that I must be failing as a mother and as a person, as I am surrounded by the mess, looking like one myself. I am the mess, and I cannot escape it.
But as I pause, and take further inspection of my surroundings, my hair in a messy ponytail and not having showered yet, determined to accomplish all of my items for the day while making sure my children are happy, I realize that I am not a failure. These are signs of life.
If I look beyond that spill on the floor, the droplets of liquid turning in to rivers on the tile, creating a sticky sheen over the surface, I can see the little boy who made the mess, taking another step forward in his independence. I see a toddler yearning for more freedom, two hands unsteadily clutching a cup, and watching as the contents tumbled, his eyebrows furrowed in worry. As I kneel to console him, I see the apprehension leave his face, and no longer is he worried about the spill, but entertained by the puddle growing larger.
As I glance at the piles of clothes folded and those yet to be tended too, I see the clothes that we are fortunate enough to own, and the utilities that are so graciously paid for us by my in laws so that we may have the water to wash them. I see these clothes that drape us as we carry ourselves from one destination to the next, turning the chapters of our lives in the different outfits we wear.
The dishes that wait in the sink to be cleaned serve as reminders that we are blessed with the ability to be fed every day, and are testaments to the hard work that my husband does to support his family, for which we are forever grateful.
Together, these factors resemble a mess, a state of disorder. Yet separately, these slices of the framework of our lives show me just how lucky we are, and that I am not this mess..my mess. Or really, a mess at all.
Of course, I do have a certain standard of cleanliness I like to maintain, and I know that the disorder of my house will not stay this way for long. The clothing will be put away, the dishes cleaned. I will eventually shower.
But at the end of day, as I look back on this setting, on my life, I can find joy in these moments, and beauty in the chaos.