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 had 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. 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!
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.