Monday, February 7, 2011

Laughter and Gratitude

I talked the other day about how isolation chokes intimacy. I've since thought of a couple others. Guilt (I do believe, a totally useless emotion) chokes gratitude and legalism chokes laughter. Today I'm practicing gratitude and laughter.

My house is a wreck. I am not what you would call a fastidious housekeeper. But yesterday was Sunday. Superbowl Sunday, which means, though I don't care at all about sports, that there was an added defense for relaxation. And I am trying to subsume Sundays as a day of rest. So I took a four hour nap after church. And then because I am not a fan of football, I went on a father daughter date with my dad to the bookstore and out to dinner. I feel myself favored to have a father who also does not enjoy sports and who, like me, would prefer to read a good book. Not many girls have that. So we spent hours in the car reading out loud Stuff Christians Like and getting a good laugh. I didn't get home until Tenish and the kids (ALL of them) were up watching a movie with Brett, now that the game was over. Yes, husbands do things a little differently. He let them sleep on the floor atop a bunch of blankets all night. And the blankets, I'll admit stayed on the floor until quite recently. But, it's okay. It's okay that I did not prepare one meal yesterday, did not do a lick of laundry and basically, let the house go. This, I'm getting used to. For Sundays.

The rest of the week poses a bit more of a problem. Because though I clean, wash and sort laundry, and cook regularly, yes, daily, it's not entirely evident. If anyone were to pop in unannounced, I'd be mortified. And believe me, this has happened. But I'm trying to excuse myself this too. Not, excuse myself from cleaning, but rather excuse myself from the fact that one can't tell I clean. I've been consoling myself lately with the viewpoint that my untidiness is due to artistic temperament. I'm not actually artistic, but I think temperament has to count for something. A few years back, I saw a quote that I seriously thought about stenciling on the wall: "Only boring women keep immaculate homes", or something of the like but My mother-in-law didn't see the humor in it and in the end....I just tried harder to keep a nice house.

But now I'm back to giving in mode. Giving in to the idea that at least, for now, while the kids are little, cleaning house really is like shoveling snow in a snow storm. Many people actually do that, here in Iowa. That's another thing. I've also decided that Iowa women are actually better at maintaining their houses like showrooms. My friends in Arizona were a bit more like me, not quite Molly Homemakers, but here, everyone seems to keep a spotless home. Maybe the Midwesterners grew up with less to do? Thus, mastering this important craft? Maybe more stay-at-home moms here in the center of the country when women my age were growing up?

Anyhow, my disclaimer, is this: Housekeeping is not my art. It is not my area of expertise. I am quite envious of those who possess this talent. But please, don't judge me if I'm not gifted in this area. And please, too, call before you show up. It will save us both embarrassment.

By the way, 'cleanliness is next to godliness' is nowhere in the Bible. And....God does not want us to strive. So, there. For today, I will stop with this striving, I will laugh at myself and be grateful for all I do possess.

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