I’m writing this Saturday night to publish Sunday morning, which marks the shortest buffer I’ve had yet this month. Andrew is out running sound for a group called The Rad Trads at the UAF Pub until midnight (later?) and the house is finally quiet. After feeding the kids mac and cheese (blue box) while they watched Moana (a special dispensation for a daddyless Saturday night), the big two asked for a sleepover on the back deck. Now, we’re mid-20s overnight (Farenheit) here, but I’m tired and sick and thus not really in my right mind, so I said yes, sort of. They could stay out on the back deck as long as they did not come in and out and did not fight and they could not stay out past my bedtime. I put the little two in their respective bottom bunks and looked at the living area—living room, dining room, kitchen.
It was wrecked.
This isn’t a shock—I’m not at my best today, plus Andrew has been out since late afternoon. I wasn’t on top of making the kids clean up between things. I have not, in fact, been on top of much, unless you count the futon. But this isn’t a way I can comfortably go to bed (more accurately, it’s not a way I can reasonably wake up on Sunday morning) so I started setting things right.
“Setting things right.” You might not notice, but that marks a subtle change in the way I frame housework. “Catching up” or “managing the mess” or “damage control”? Sure. I’ve lamented at length the quotidian nature of housework—the way nothing I do manages to stay done for more than 24 hours. Most of my tasks have a shelf-life of less than that: kids need to be fed three times a day. Bottoms need wiping, areas need tidying, limits need enforcing over and over, all day every day. But my attitude towards some of these mundane jobs has been shifting lately.
Madeline L’Engle talks about true art as drawing cosmos from the chaos: taking disorder and finding or creating meaning out of it. Putting things in order. I’m not sure sure there’s a more elegant way of describing every aspect of homemaking, and she equates it with art.
Since February, I’ve been thinking and reading about spiritual disciplines and liturgical worship. Disciplines and liturgy are effective because it trains our hearts by directing our habits, but liturgy is a lot broader than I ever thought. Really anything I do repeatedly with my heart pointed to the Lord has the potential to become liturgical worship.
And so it is with housework. While I’ve certainly allowed the repetitive nature to breed resentment and contempt, it’s slowly morphed to become worship. It’s a chance to bring order from chaos in one small area for a few minutes and that mirrors God’s work in the tiniest way.
This post is part of my series, 31 days of speaking the truth. You can find the whole list of them here on the first post of the series.