Dirty Socks and Beauty

Oh the difference a week makes!

 

Last week I was still humming in the glow of the conference I had just attended. Tired, yes, but still warm and filled with thoughts of beauty. Filled with hope and with an eagerness to stir imagination in my children. Filled with refreshment from conversations and music and feasting.

 

Today? Well, today there are dirty clothes strewn about the house upstairs. They haven’t quite made it to the laundry room. The laundry basket is overflowing with clean clothes which need to be put away…I was tired after the third round. There are still a few dirty dishes in the sink which couldn’t make it in the load last night. Sweatshirts and shoes are in various places around the family room.

 

Library books are stacked on the kitchen table, next to the decoratively cool turban squash. And an empty Jones Soda can.

 

Somehow there is an empty hair gel container also on the kitchen table…Maddie has been emptying out the bathroom for me.

 

We have a leak in the fireplace that has come under the marble and soaked the carpet during the days of Noah we had recently. Beginning to dry out, but it left an interesting smell and we had to wait until the rain stopped before someone could come to look at what is wrong. Hoping that happens soon.

 

Ah, basking in the beauty.

 

Life is busy; crazy busy. Steve is swamped at work with a project which will culminate the first full week in November. Until then he is working seven days a week. Sports are in almost full swing. Practices are happening and games being attended. Biblestudies are happening and church events. Field trips. Tutorials.

 

Life.

Full and busy and constant. 

Dirty dishes and laundry and leaks.

 

Beauty and afterglow has a hard time elbowing for room. I would love to sit and read for hours, but I have lesson plans to figure out and grading to tend. Where do I fit in this imagination and wonder and creativity?

 

Some seem to do it with an elegance and grace that amaze me, while I feel disheveled and harried. Tacking on my wonder while I hide the dirty laundry.

 

Deep breath.  

That was what I needed.

Mondays are generally a bit messy. I find it difficult to get my rhythm back after the weekend, and I want to start with some silence. The house always bears some battle signs from the weekend, and I know I need to tend to it, but first…I need to tend to my soul. That is part of what I learned last weekend.

 

Beauty, and tending to beauty and imagination and wonder, is not a luxury nor an extravagance. It is a necessity. A priority.

 

That deep breath that gives the strength and the calm to face the litany of things needing to be tackled. It’s not just dirty dishes and laundry. It is parents aging and friends struggling. Jobs with great stress, or friends with no jobs and the great stress of ends not meeting. Deep breath.

 

I need the strength I find in the beauty and the wonder to carry me through the tasks at hand. All of them. Loving well, tending the things in my care…living well. 

So the dirty dishes and the laundry and tidying will wait just a bit longer.

 

A strong cup of coffee and the porch and ancient words of prayer await.

 

Messy Monday….meet a resolved heart.  There will be beauty and wonder here in this house this week, even if a dirty sock is poking out somewhere.

Rejoicing with those who Rejoice!

I have seen a few posts floating around FaceBook making fun of Pinterest, or of those who are crafty and who go over the top in their homes. I have to admit that I have chuckled at a few, and said amen. 

I’ve even seen a few blog posts talking about not measuring yourself by all the things on Facebook and on Pinterest.

In the midst of weeding this morning…physically weeding, the tiny flower bed that I have…the one that has been neglected and therefore the weeding task is rather immense…in the midst of this weeding I realized something.

I have friends who excel in bringing beauty into their lives, and the lives of those around them.  Excel at this. They make it look easy, and they delight in bringing beauty to their world.  I am sure there are those out there who do these things to impress or to to prove themselves, but the folks I am thinking of desire to bring beauty and wonder into the world in order to bless.

They make their world beautiful to bring healing and blessing to those who live in the midst of this broken world with them. They create little spaces of sanctuary, and they do so with care and delight.

They may even talk about it sometimes, or they may post a picture.

They don’t do this to make others feel less-than…they do it to celebrate the beauty around us.

Sometimes when I see the beautiful things they create I look around at my house, which likely has a few messes strewn around, and I feel a bit deflated. This morning our kitchen table has three plastic horses staring at me, a pair of pink crocs, a couple bean bags, an ipod, a grocery bag with some sugar…not exactly a beauty inspiring tableau. Want to see it?

Photo on 6-24-13 at 9.27 AM

Not terrible, but not exactly beautiful. I looked at pictures this morning of one friend’s house where she had hung yarn on the wall…and it looked delightful. She had thought something up, made it work, and she delighted in celebrating this little moment of beauty.

What would happen if I posted on her wall that her image made me feel less. Her moment of inspiration made me feel judged and hurt and depressed.

Why is it that our flesh delights in bringing others down? Instead of celebrating and enjoying the success of others, the moments of their delight, our flesh takes those moments as judgments on our short comings. I do this more often than I would like. I might not say it out loud, but I will chuckle at the sarcastic post that jabs at those who are more “crafty”.

This attitude comes to play in other areas as well. When a parent rejoices in their child’s success in sports or academics or music or drama…sometimes the result is jealousy rather than rejoicing.

How about homeschool? I have friends who feel that they are being judged for not homeschooling because I am excited about how our kids are flourishing in this adventure.

Or church? The church down the street has more creative folks, or their VBS is bigger and brighter, or their worship team is more polished….that can be our reaction instead of simply celebrating with the successes and endeavors of our brothers and sisters.

Yep, I’m rambling a bit…I apologize. Blame it on working in the flower garden, that seems to lead to rambling thoughts.

Here is the point:  The successes of another, the abilities and talents and choices of another, do not minimize or denegrate my successes and choices.

I don’t have to feel less-than because someone else does something well.

I love looking around on Pinterest, but I love even more seeing friends I actually know flourish in bringing beauty and wonder and creativity into our world. My house may be a mess at the moment, but it will be scrubbed and polished and made beautiful to celebrate Madeleine’s birthday tomorrow night. I’ll probably steal a few ideas from friends in how to bring that beauty to life.

Our flesh wants to take other’s successes as judgment…our Spirit wants to rejoice and encourage and celebrate with our friends as they flourish in their giftings. It may sound silly in the context of Pinterest, but in the context of life learning to rejoice in others is a discipline that breathes life into our midst.  Off to “like” some pages and encourage some friends to keep posting their beautiful flowers and meals and words!!