I love a clean and tidy house and work hard to keep one, but there’s always that one room that gets the best of me. Is this normal? It’s the room that requires me to take a whole vacation day just to map out my cleaning and uncluttering strategy. It’s the room that I think I have grand ideas for, but in reality don’t know what to do with. It’s the room that I’d like to embrace but instead it gives me anxiety. I call it my “All Nighter” because invariably I wake up at 2:36 a.m. with it on my mind and have to force myself to turn over, close my eyes and search for some long, lost sheep. And invariably again, I usually find them congregating around that silly room.
Today, it’s the closet under the stairs. My original plan for that closet was to be a bad weather shelter, because it’s spacious and it’s an interior room. Sure enough, a month or so ago the sirens went off and off I went scrambling (Texas weather is nothing to turn up your nose to.) By the time I pulled out Christmas canvases and wrapping paper and enough random stuff for me and Lanie to have a spot to sit and wait out the storm, the sun was shining again. Some emergency plan, thought the horrible mother.
Some rooms are easier to keep tidy than others. Maybe it’s designed that way to keep me humble. If it’s not the closet under the stairs, it’s the garage. If it’s not the garage, it’s the pantry. Pesky, evil, attention-grabbing spaces. Spaces where stuff gravitates, collects dust, and then invites the neighbors. I do not know why this is. It just is.
I could be wrong, but I believe the lesson for me today is to take some time to clear the clutter.
This New Year finds me wanting to once and for all unclutter that closet, and a lot of other spaces, too. I’m going to be 50 this year (gah!) and there’s nothing like a mid-century birthday to make one hit pause and truly ponder the stuff of life. The more I ponder, the more I know beyond a shadow of a doubt there are some things that have got to go.
Stress. (Why have I hung on to you for so long? You are not fun or cute and you are giving me wrinkles.)
Doubt. (When is the last time you did what you said you were going to do? Worthless, you are.)
Compromise. (You are a heart breaker and you make me sad.)
Busyness. (The more I fill up with you the emptier I feel. You take and take and never give back. Jerk.)
Outdated wrapping paper. (Now you I may keep around for another year.)
I have a cute, tiny visitor staying with me for a few days. This morning as I sat at my desk, listening to some Chris Tomlin on the radio and preparing for my day, I heard tiny footsteps coming down the hallway. A sweet, sleepy-eyed girl walked to the edge of my office, peered around the doorway, and whispered, “Mommy said I couldn’t bother you.” I had to laugh! How could she possibly know at 3 years old that one of my favorite things to do is to stop doing and be bothered by her? To hug and hold her close and let her sip my coffee when she wakes up? Mornings are my favorite times to be bothered by this child! She puts her head on my shoulder and we visit a place where words are not needed. Most days it’s just for a few moments, but I’ll take it. This is the uncluttered that I so desperately needed today…because Jesus was there in that moment with us, reminding me that as much as I completely love this tiny human, how much more He loves to gather me close, how much more He loves me, completely. If He drank coffee, I’m sure He’d linger and drink some with me (although He may be more of a wine guy, and I’m totally good with that).
I was so wrong. This is the lesson, the moment, that I really needed today.
And so, the closet under the stairs…is still there. So is the stuff that I’m convinced needs my attention. Sigh. I’ll schedule a vacation day soon and get to it. Or maybe I’ll listen to this song again instead, spend less time worrying about worrying and more time bothering my Father…and allowing myself to be flagrantly, utterly, crazy loved.
I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night
You tell me that You’re pleased and that I’m never alone
You’re a good, good Father
It’s who You are, it’s who You are, it’s who You are
And I’m loved by You
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am
I’ve seen many searching for answers, far and wide
But I know we’re all searching for answers only You provide
‘Cause You know just what we need
Before we say a word
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us
Written by Pat Barrett and Tony Brown Key