I’m about to load up the back of my suburban with four or five bags of clothes, shoes, and various other items no longer wanted or needed, the result of two days’ labor to declutter and clean out my closet. This will be my third donation load (maybe more) to our local Downtown Rescue Center thrift store in the past few weeks. I don’t know if it’s spring cleaning or what but I do know this: such prolonged efforts at organization are quite unlike my usual MO. It’s a lot of work, no doubt about it, but it feels good to systematically make my way through the house clearing out and cleaning up, throwing away and giving away, doing what I can, as I can. It’s also proven to be a long, drawn out process; six people accumulate a lot of stuff!
Simplify. Streamline. Slowly. Steadily. This is my goal. Not my reality, not yet.
Even as I type this, there is dog hair covering the floor, dirty dishes filling the sink, laundry begging to be folded, and dust blanketing nearly everything.
Simple does not equal perfect.
In my nearly two decades as housekeeper and home manager, I have struggled to reconcile the way things are and the way I fear things ought to be. I think I’ve told you before that few things make me hate myself like cleaning house. While not unsanitary neither is my house immaculate. Never has been, never will be. Some can and do (and love) such a standard. Me, I go for lived in. Hopefully a little more organized than has been my standard in the past but lived in all the same.
I wrote those words several weeks ago. Despite all those highfalutin’ goals of simplifying and streamlining, life got pretty complicated pretty quickly. And doesn’t it always? Now as I type not only am I once again surrounded by the aforementioned dog hair, dishes, laundry, and dust, but my remaining projects of cleaning up and clearing out are just that: remaining, existing only as items on a post-it note, thwarted by such complicating factors as tornadoes and subsequent power outages, end-of-the-school-year events and obligations, and various other real life responsibilities.
It’ll keep, is what I would say to you if you were lamenting to me the list of things you’d like to do but can’t because of more pressing and present matters. That is the problem, though, is it not? That it does keep when I’d rather it went somewhere, anywhere, so that I needn’t worry over it any longer.
But I’m learning–oh, so slowly, over two decades now and counting–that there is grace. Grace for the things I can do, grace for the things I can’t. One day at a time, seeking this day’s daily bread. Perhaps accomplishing much today, perhaps not so much tomorrow. Numbering my days, seeking a heart of wisdom. Rejecting idleness, resting in His sufficiency in my inadequacy. Making the most of my time, in gratitude and humility, choosing to find joy not in crossing items off my to-do list but in the gracious goodness of the Lord, in His abundant blessings to me, those blessings of life and family, grace and mercy. This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad, even with piles of clothes stashed under the bed awaiting sorting and organizing, trim that needs painting, and clutter languishing in my junk drawers…