Friday, October 7, 2016

A Clean House

A clean house on Friday evening is a goal for our family. I grew up in a rhythm of cleaning on Fridays and enjoying a zen atmosphere Friday evening. Sometimes there were clean sheets to crawl into after showers and if we braided our wet hair, my sisters and I looked forward to "curls" the next day. 

For us, it's always been part of celebrating Sabbath from sundown Friday night to sundown Saturday night (like Jews even though we're Christian.) It's honestly the only time my body downshifts and lets me relax without effort. I'd like my children to learn the habit of sabbath-ing, so we've tried to create a calm atmosphere around the Sabbath hours with a candlelit dinner of waffles. Through the summer and bathroom renovation, we kept the candles and waffles going, but a clean house? I couldn't even remember what that looked like. 

Here's how our music room looked:

Nothing zen about that. And it wasn't confined to the music room. There was dust everywhere and more tools on the front porch. Our toilet sat out there for months and I apologized silently to my neighbors every time I passed it. My dresser was covered with toiletries and hardware we were trying to keep track of. It was messy and dirty. We were just happy when there wasn't drywall dust on our kitchen counters.

Though the bathroom isn't quite finished, it's taken a lot less of our time lately. (More on that another time.) The moment the bathroom was semi-functional, I raised my eyes and saw all the things the bathroom kept us too busy to deal with. Paperwork had piled up, weeds had grown and I was immediately overwhelmed. We started chipping away at it, and at least a month later, tonight I'm enjoying the first Friday night when I feel like my house is in order(ish) and a relaxing beautiful place to be.

This is HUGE. Some people are less affected by their surroundings and many have a tolerance for visual noise that I envy. For me, I feel at home when things are orderly. I feel safe. I feel calm. I feel like I can really live. (This is probably why minimalism has become so important to me. I want to live, not just tend to my stuff.) It didn't help when I told myself this lie: A better person would be unaffected by all this mess. You are shallow and weak if you need order around you. How would it have been different if I'd said, "You thrive on order and this endeavor makes that impossible for now. It's okay to struggle with it." And I did say some of that to myself. I just said both. 

Anyway, tonight I'm sitting in my overstuffed chair in my pjs. When I'm done posting, I plan to make tea and head to bed. This is my view:

I can't tell you what this means to me. It helps me hope we can find a normal and a rhythm again. Looking at all the mess and the miles to go (up and down the stairs) before we'd get things where they belonged, it seemed impossible. I felt so tired and lots of things were too much for my wrist. Then I'd think about surgery and what that would be like and feel even worse. We all know better than to think these things, but I'm here to say I thought them. Even though I know better. Even though I've been there before and gotten through it. It still scares me when everywhere I look, I see disorder and work I'm too tired for. 

But I'm still enough. With my detours into dysfunctional thinking and the toddler in me who wants to rage with wild eyes until things go my way. I love that toddler me and I love the one who's lost so far on a rant of "and then's..." she doesn't know how to get back to reality. I'm not saying it's fun to be in any of those places, but the person who's there is still completely lovable. Knowing better and still falling isn't a disqualifier. 

So I can spend zero percent of my evening tonight feeling bad about how discouraged I got during this process and the whole time feeling the greatness of the gift. My husband and kids are a team with me and we can get what needs to be done done, eventually. Also, I may have fatigue, but I can still bring order to my surroundings a little at a time. 

And look at my soul now, soaking up the beauty of this moment, knowing and feeling how good it is to be alive.


  1. This is a pretty great post. I've been thinking of starting a blog on this subject myself. Any tips or anything you would recommend me to avoid?
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