A couple of weeks ago I spoke at Mother’s Together at Menlo Church. I talked about finding Beauty in the most unlikely of places …which can be quite easy to find if you’re talking to a bunch of moms, assuming you know what to look for, I suppose.
The funny thing is that we don’t often think of beauty being all around us, in the midst of the mess and the screams and the cries and the boogers.
But it is.
It’s all around us, just waiting to be noticed.
In the mess of my house, out of the corner of my eye, I see the iris blooming again for the first time. All over again. I probably don’t water it as much as I should, or I overwater it if I remember that I’m supposed to be watering it every five to seven days, but somehow, someway, that plant decided to up and bloom again this year.
And I’m reminded of all the do-overs we get, too.
I hear the screams and the cries, the ones that seem to come mere seconds after the boys have been hugging each other because they’ve missed each other so much.
“Oh, Feo,” Cancan says, “brother, I love you!”
An elongated hug ensues, and Baby Brother’s grunts turn to cries, and cries turn to shrieks, and pretty soon all hell has broken loose. I’m repeating Hug and release, Hug and release, Hug and release in rapid succession, over and over again, hoping that peace will reign in our house again.
Eventually, calm comes, as it always does.
But in that moment, even in the midst of the screams and the cries and the wiping of subsequent little boy boogers, I find and I see Beauty in their love for each other.
And I am reminded that I am loved a whole lot, too.
So here I was, speaking to a group of mamas at my old stomping grounds. Afterwards, they opened up the floor for questions. I doubted I’d have any questions asked of me. I doubted I’d have an answer for their musings, if musings even came.
But questions did arise, from moms just like me who are trying to figure out the Great Juggling Act between taking care of littles and doing what we’re called to do and retaining some semblance of order when it comes to self-preservation and relationships.
How do you find the balance?
Babysitters. The YMCA. I try and hold all those expectations of myself loosely.
How do you take time for yourself?
I fight for it, as you should, as we all should.
How do you keep your house clean?
Um, I don’t…
And a funny thing happened when I admitted that last statement: a collective hush fell over the crowd.
Wait a minute: her house is messy? Um, yes. She doesn’t spend two hours a day picking up after children, and sweeping and mopping the floors, and keeping the kitchen sparkling clean? Nope.
The conversation didn’t end there.
The dialogue continued.
There’s not enough time in the day: there never is and there never will be. I clean up and I tidy up, and in general, I try to make the space where I spend the majority of my time slightly comfortable, but sometimes the dishes are left in the sink.
Sometimes, words are flowing and thoughts are pinging out of my fingertips onto the keys of the computer, and nothing on God’s green earth is going to make me stop this impulsive moment of creativity to scrub eggs off this morning’s breakfast pan.
It’s the same for the HBH (Hot Black Husband), who rightfully shares a load of the household responsibilities: sometimes there’s already too much on his plate. Sometimes he’s working late. Sometimes the Warriors are winning. Sometimes there still isn’t enough time in the day for him to make his way to the kitchen sink and load up the dishwasher.
So we let it go.
We take the load off each other and we recognize seasons of busyness.
We still invite others into our home, and we still try not to apologize for crumbs underneath the dining room table and an assortment of the day’s dishes in the sink.
And we beg others to do the same.
I suppose that’s what happened that morning at Menlo: we begged one another to lessen the expectation of perfection. We urged each women there to let the mess sometimes be a mess, so life can instead make its way through.
I mean, isn’t that what you want?
It’s what I want.
So friend, let’s do it together: let’s keep those dishes in the sink.
Hey! Finding Beauty in the most unlikely of places: how do you do it? Dishes left overnight in the sink: yea or nay?