Giving Up Clutter for Lent, Part Four: Clutter Wins. Or Does It?
A few days ago, I had about 90 minutes, maybe 2 solid hours if I was lucky, to do as I pleased. My youngest son, who requires the most hands-on care, was blissfully asleep. My 6-year-old was out of the house and my eldest was reading, which he can do for an entire afternoon when given the opportunity. So what would I do with this unusual bounty of time? My mind was spinning with how I could use it, what task I should attack, whether I could get most of it done in two hours. Before this point, I had been cleaning the kitchen from the morning aftermath, then doing non-stop loads of laundry, then feeding my kids lunch, then cleaning up that aftermath (am I the only mom for whom mealtimes result in “aftermaths”?).
Two hours. More clutter around me than could be handled in that time. But surely, I could make progress somewhere. The pantry, the laundry room, the refrigerator, the still-disastrous office. All were clamoring for my attention–I had no lack of options.
But then my oldest son came bounding down the stairs, wondering what I was doing, why I was so quiet. He is used to commotion around him when I’m in the house; for the past few minutes, I had been thinking of what to do and the stillness had surprised him. “Mom, what are you doing? Do you want to do something together?”
He is turning 10 in just a few months, undeniable evidence that I have been a parent for nearly a decade and I still can’t believe it. I took in his near-tweenage 80-lb. body, growing by the minute, his face which still held enough sweet innocence to keep the thought of impending puberty at bay.
I smiled at him as I made my split-second decision. “Let’s play something together. I challenge you to a duel. These moments don’t happen often, you-and-me time.”
His grin was wide and instant. I made no progress with the clutter that day, during those precious two hours. Instead, I played games with my son and even did some pleasure reading. It was not yet officially the Sabbath, but in the end, what I realized I needed was rest, a break from trying to impose order on a house that constantly moves towards disorder. And I needed a chance to have fun reconnecting with my son; despite constantly being around one another we don’t always manage to do so.
We can’t always choose to capitulate to the messes in our lives, but when you have a chance to challenge your 4th grade son to a game of Wii swordplay instead of beating down the clutter, then take it. Even if you lose, you win.
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Happy launch day to @Jenpmichel! Love her new @ivpress book #SurprisedByParadox so much. A gifted, thoughtful writer tackling a fundamental aspect of the Christian faith. She explains it much better than I do here. Congrats, Jen! pic.twitter.com/nIGlyudOWg
@Mepaynl Oh Morgan, I am so, so sorry. Prayers for you and your family during this difficult time.
@TheAlanNoble OMG yes. I want Lego sets that don't require a PhD in engineering & manuals that don't intimidate my kids to build. I want Lego sets that foster imagination, not just mere imitation. I want Lego sets that don't cost a fortune. I want someone to buy all the piles of Legos we have!
@kanyabwile @LouLovesJR It makes his blood boil??? I hope he prayerfully seeks out what the source is of his anger and rage. Is it truly righteous or is it something rooted in evil? This kind of transformative vision must come from the work of the Holy Spirit. Come, Jesus, and bring sight to the blind.