Making Room

The other day, I was pretty annoyed with the family at large for not doing their share, or any share, really, of the housework. I’d spent the whole day working, and the whole lot of them were gone. Disappeared. Two of them cp-henry-play-blockshad an acceptable reason: they were at work! But the rest of them? Not so much. And they heard about it.  Later that evening, as we went about our Advent devotions, I suggested the song “People Look East”.  The older children got the message right away, but the younger ones were cheerfully oblivious.

Actually, I really like that song, don’t you?  It’s hopefully expectant.  We make time to prepare our hearts and our homes for the coming of our Lord, and why not?  I would tidy up the house for any other expected guest!  Maybe we shouldn’t go quite so far as Old Befana, who is so focused on cleaning that she misses the Lord entirely, but a little prudent cleaning, I think, will not go amiss.cp-tommy-play-living-room Our hearts are very much influenced by our environments. It’s a challenge to feel at peace when the home is cluttered and messy. It’s easier to be calm and recollected when one’s spaces are well-ordered and attractive.  At least, I think so.

It’s a constant battle for me to keep things neat, partly because I have a very large family, and partly because I have a bit of my father’s propensity to collect and save things.  I go through cycles of accumulating and purging, and my desk is almost always covered with books and papers and the detritus of my daily life.  If you want to know what’s going on with me, just glance at my desk! img_4945

This Advent, I’m looking for breathing room. I’m trying to work around the challenges and find space to be the me that doesn’t just spend her days taking care of an active family. There’s a me who loves to write, to photograph, to make art, useful and otherwise. There’s a me who makes home nice and enjoys it as a creative activity. There’s a me who reads and takes bubble baths, sometimes simultaneously. And there’s a me who has time to spend in quiet prayer with my Lord.  I’ve been missing this version of me.

Today, my desk is tidy and stocked with art supplies. My camera battery is charged. The main areas of the house are actually pretty neat.  There’s room to think and create and be.  And this is just where I want to be.  Today and always.

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4 thoughts on “Making Room

  1. Melanie says:

    I feel like I spend an empty Saturday knee deep in organizing and purging one area, and in the meantime chaos is happening in others. I tell people all the time,”protect the clean!” Lol…

    • Jennie Cooper says:

      Oh, gosh. It’s true, Melanie! The other night, when I was venting about the Not Helping, I said, “You know what? There’s no reason for you to be in the living room, anyway! Go make a mess somewhere else!” They raised eyebrows. Rightly, I’m afraid, because they really do belong in the living room, too. Good luck with the organizing though!

  2. Anne Neulieb says:

    This thought has been in the back of my mind here and there as the birth of Baby Five approaches. I know from experience that we’ll enter survival mode at some level or another (in fact I believe we’re already there) and that it may last up to a year (or more!) before I get back to regular morning quiet/prayer time. Right now though, I’m telling myself not to worry about that part because I know when it’s really time, then it will become a priority once more, and I’ll make it happen, just like you are doing now. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to sinking into newborn mode and soaking up all the snuggles and preciousness, trading in holding my hook and yarn for a baby!

    • Jennie Cooper says:

      Yes! You enjoy every minute of that baby guilt free. I think God wouldn’t have made babies so needy if He didn’t want us to focus almost exclusively on them. 🙂 On my end, I find this huge age spread to be unusually challenging. If they were all little, or all big, it would be fairly simple to manage, but they get me from both sides!

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