The messy bits

Sometimes I look around my life and feel utter frustration.  My kids leave their stuff laying around all. the. time.  

It makes me absolutely crazy.  

I feel like I nag and pester and remind them until I'm sick of the sound of my own voice.  The Husband is oftentimes no better.  Home only a few nights per week, he can be the worst of them all.  Guilty of leaving a trail of clothes, dry cleaning, and wet towels in his wake as he dashes off to another week.  

Today, after a brisk walk in the beautiful sunshine with my two dogs, I came home to begin the day and put the chaos back into order.  I sighed when I looked around me and saw all that I would have to do.

Instead of the usual irritation, I was hit this morning with a poignant and timely thought.

This mess that grates on my nerves tells a far different story than the one I've been seeing.

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The pile of sports equipment on my kitchen counter speaks of the church youth group that Chase attended last night.  They played a sport that he does not enjoy, but he cheerfully attended and participated anyway.  The discarded equipment and hat tell me of his dedication and his heart more than they do of his forgetful nature.  He is not a boy who will simply stay home from youth group just because he doesn't like the activity.  He will go and give it his best shot.  He will support the group and do it with a smile on his face.

It speaks also to a boy who loves God, and is striving to do all that he is asked of and more.  

That is a story I might have missed had I only been mad at the mess.

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The askew kitchen chairs show me that my kids sat around this table together, chatting and laughing before school.  Our morning schedules are crazy, and we are seldom all home for any extended period of time together.  But for a brief few minutes today, they looked each other in the eyes -- teased, laughed, and talked about the day ahead.


I will take a messy kitchen any day in exchange for that.

Besides, this time next year, we will have one serving a mission in some far away corner of the world.  What a blessing today that I have them all in the nest together.

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A never ending grocery list and seldom-full pantry speak of healthy, growing bodies that don't go to bed hungry.  It also speaks of my ability to provide the necessary items; it speaks of plenty.  It speaks of a good job for the Husband where money is not scarce and food is a resource we are never without.  For that I am infinitely grateful.  

These thriving people accomplish quite a bit during the day, each of them working out, participating on a team, and striving to improve themselves, both physically and mentally.  They are doing well in school and have adjusted to life in Texas better than I could have hoped.  

Better, sometimes, than I feel I have.

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Today I am feeling gratitude instead of petty annoyance.  I am feeling loved, instead of picked on.  I have four of the most wonderful creatures on the planet to call my own, and I would not trade them for the cleanest house or the emptiest counters.  Their messiness is proof of their existence, their health, their joy, and their place in my heart.

As Vanessa Redgrave said in Letters to Juliet, "Life IS the messy bits."

I wholeheartedly agree.