One late night this week, it occurred to me that my kitchen might need a little attention…
Actually, I got the idea after my kitchen practically jumped out and attacked me.
Oh my word, I’m cringing even looking at it… And I’m cringing even more, because, I took this second picture significantly into the cleaning process and considered posting it instead. I secretly wanted this to be the messy kitchen you saw that might possibly promote me to an organized-neat-freak-whose-house-is-so-clean-at-all-times-that-the-tiniest-mess-is-a-disaster in your mind. I actually considered downplaying the mess to somehow make me look better.
If I’m honest with myself and with you, my house is messy far more than I’d like and I have proof of this pattern, because the other day, when I cleaned just for the sake of general responsibility and health, Darcy walked in and gasped: “Yay! Is Grammie coming today?” [cue the psychological damage, please…]
When we first got married, a very wise woman gave me advice on carving out time and making priorities and our many conversations would go like this: I’d ask “But what about this good thing? …or this good? …or that better?” And she’d quietly smile and knowingly state:
“You’re saying ‘no‘ to one thing to say ‘yes‘ to another – your ‘no‘ to that social commitment is a ‘yes‘ to the commitment of your relationship and making time for it – the best thing.”
I love this idea and I think it bends out into my home life and family life too.
When one of my children needs extra counsel and love, when there’s a writing deadline, when a 4th grade landform, a 1st grade corn celebration party (for real, it’s a thing), and a kindergartener’s reading homework all coincide – and they all need to be addressed at the same time, something has to go so I can keep breathing, and that something (for me) is usually the dishes.
One of my favorite phrases is: “There are only so many hills you can die on and this shouldn’t be one…” (Seriously, I’ve long considered a needlepoint or canvas…) And so, after what feels like a defeated week, I’m posting a picture of my dirty dishes. And I hope they encourage you! (weird, right?)
Because sometimes, whether in casual conversations or on social media (particularly the latter), it’s easy for me to feel shame when I see the best and most polished in others’ lives and then I feel terrible for not being able to “do it all”.
For me, saying ‘yes‘ to my children, to my husband, even to something like writing, often means letting something like the dishes go for just a minute. (or, you know, two days…[double cringe] )
I promise, it doesn’t look like this all the time, and I definitely don’t want to hold up my dirty dishes as an example because each person’s “saying ‘no’ to say ‘yes’ moment” will look different, but for me, this is real, so I’m coming clean over the dirty today – this week, I said ‘yes‘ to my family…and the dishes took a little longer to get clean. Because most of the time, my life doesn’t wrap up all neatly like a pretty package…
And I need to remember to take even the dishes…moment by moment.
“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” Ps. 90:12 (NLT)