Last night, all I could see were dirty dishes and laundry that needed folded. I was tired and irritable and it looked like too much.
I can not take one more dirty dish or laundry that never ends.
I have a mini meltdown and exclaim to my husband that I am so tired of dirty dishes and laundry and how they’re never done and I don’t even like doing dishes and laundry. “It’s no fun,” I said.
And guess what?
I do get really, really tired of their unendingness. Sometimes, I enjoy a nice hot sudsy sink of water and the accomplishment of dishes with sparkling faces ready to tuck away in the cupboard. But much of the time, I want to get them done because I have a myriad of other things I’d rather do and truly enjoy much more.
I love, love clean laundry and there’s not much I love more on my bed than fresh, clean sheets, but getting all that laundry wrangled and folded and put in place feels like a chore. If it was once-a-month, I could deal better. Ha!
My mini meltdown began to melt away and I began to assess my attitude as well, and make the necessary adjustments.
“I’ll give you some grace,” I told myself, “Because chores can become tiresome, but Deborah, think of the blessing you have that you can move. You can wash dishes and fold laundry and put it away. You aren’t flat on your face on the floor because of back pain right now. You aren’t in bed with a migraine. You aren’t in the hospital with an illness or caring for someone you love as they suffer. Remember, how often you’ve been grateful to be able to keep your own home and go about your daily chores yourself? Remember how thankful you are for everyday life and how normal routines are one of your favorites?
And be grateful.
Because you never know when it will change.
You never know what a day will bring. Remember two-and-a-half months ago when every step was painful and steps were few? Remember you just went out for a bike ride that was supposed to be relaxing and fun and you returned in pain with a very unplanned twisted ankle and turned foot? Remember??????”
Yes. I remember. Oh, I forget all too easily. But, YES, I remember!!!!
AND. My dear, should you suddenly find yourself unable to do your household chores, you would wish you were able.
Yes. Yes, I would. Absolutely. Home and routine are happiness to me.
I’ve been out of the house most every day since we returned from spending Christmas with my family in Ohio. Some of the things have been fun things, some of them, needed. But it all wears away at me. Throw in an upstairs room project and general mess throughout the house and suddenly the dishes and laundry become menacing, taunting monsters that I can’t get tamed!!!
What’s that you say? YOUR dishes and laundry don’t talk??? Well, mine do. They often say mean things to me. Things like, “You never keep up.” “You’re such a mess.” “You’ll never get it together.” “You should be a better housekeeper.” “You are lazy.” “Why are you so lazy?” “Why isn’t your house spotless?” “Why do you complain so much?”
I know it’s silly to let such voices have any part of my life, but alas, they do. And the other thing is, while I love “neat and tidy” and “a place for everything and everything in its place,” real life and living don’t usually conform. And here’s another truth. I really don’t care to spend my whole life keeping an immaculate house. There’s too much else in this brimming world to try and to do and to soak in.
Last summer, I had a conversation with a friend and fellow mama of several littles. She said something to me that caused me to giggle and nod my head in agreement. “I’m not going to spend my whole life cleaning my house,” she confides in me. We laughed as she said it, but I pondered it long. I haven’t forgotten her words either. I totally understood and related to her heart and meaning of her conversation.
Oh, don’t get me wrong! I love an immaculate house. I wish mine always was. But it isn’t. And too often I find dirty dishes yelling tauntingly in my direction.
So, I find myself always hunting for the little ways beauty and happiness are added to my days….not because I excel at joy and contentment…but because I don’t…and I don’t want to miss the little things in life that offer comfort and good cheer… seeking it out and giving gratitude, combats pain and displeasure and downright attitude grumpiness. For this I grapple.
Life is a paradox pull of pain and of pleasure. Of laughter and longing. Of holding on and hurrying forward.
Life is relentless and rewarding. It is wild. It is warm. It is quest and questions, adventures and answers. Stillness and seeking.
Life is Gift. Life is Today. Life is in the daily.
In the dishes that don’t end. In the impatient waiting for the package to arrive in the mail. In the appointments. In the shared cup of hot tea and hour chatting with a friend. In the box of raspberry cream chocolates tucked up in the cupboard. In projects, in phone calls, in bills and bookstacks. In newly sharpened pencils in fun-hued colors. In whispered-up prayers for burdens and cares. In early morning hours. In cinnamon roll dough rolled carefully out. In simmering soup and snowy sidewalks. In feeding the dog and throwing wet clothes in the dryer. In sunsets and sunrises.
Today I’m grateful for favorite socks snug on my feet…the constant hum of our wood furnace… and pennant banners fluttering in points!!!
What are you giving grateful for today?