Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Clutter for my Friends

I have a picture to show you that reflects my living room on a *real* day in 2003. I'd love to take a minute, polish that picture and make it all shiny with at least some resemblance to the glossy magazines telling me what is "in" this season. I can't do that. I'm awfully fond of the reality of my world where loved ones laugh so hard they spill their drinks and kids feel like they can dig into the exciting new adventure that is next on the horizon rather than worrying if that juice cup will cause an adult to twinge.

I'm writing more words trying to delay the inevitable, because even though I believe strongly in Not Cleaning for Company... I still imagine there is judgement and a little bit of pulling away from me when my spaces look like this:

After a full day of kids and adults....
I took this picture because I wanted to remember that we live life by doing, not by staging still photos where nothing seems to have happened and everyone looks at the camera perfectly. My life, my home, they are perfect mirrors of a life we live that is slightly messy, a little cluttered with projects and fun mid-action.

I have a Crop Circle, a group of girls that comes over once a week to do scrapbooking and crafting, and I used to clean before they came over. The stress of not enough time to clean "properly" before they arrived in the middle of our week (and I homeschooled then) nearly drove me crazy and then I realized I was doing it wrong. These were my friends. My friends weren't coming to see my house, they were coming to spend time together as real people in very abundant lives.

But the moment where I decided that I would quit cleaning actually came when one of the girls said that she couldn't possibly host because she needed to clean before *I* came over. The air stood still, the hair stood up on the back of my neck and I saw very clearly that she felt judged by me. She felt judged because my house always looked "great" she said.

We compare ourselves to the people around us and take to heart what they think and say. We are, however, the most cruel and critical of the person we are. I determined that someone had to break the silence, and it was most definitely going to be me.

I clean everyday just a little, I do vacuum and scrub the bathrooms. I certainly put in my fair share of time with dishes, but I do not clean *FOR* anyone. I clean for me, and then I breathe deeply past the fears I've been taught and the lies of the home products commission and I let my home be just as it is. I try to remember that I am doing my best, and that a reflection of chaos might just mean my relationships are more real, more genuine reflections of hearts doing their best.

I was nail-biting scared of what would happen after this choice. I heard that my home was comfortable, I heard that I needed a break from my work, I heard that my friends felt that they could be "real" in my home.

Some days there are no dishes in my sink, but mostly you'll find a couple. I leave them there and I walk away into the circle of friends to sit and enjoy the creativity and the joy.  Oddly enough, the dishes will wait. They are patient and persistent and always, ALWAYS there for me when I return.

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