The three page list weighs heavier on my mind than I care to admit. This was going to be the week I got it all done, marked off every task, yet three days in I sit downcast over what remains. The perpetual spiral of housework twirls on and on. Undone things come around and around again until they’re screaming so loud that there is no other option but to give them my full attention. Undone tasks demand much more energy and effort to make right that even the thought of them is now heavy. I tell myself that it’s all an undeniable part of making a home for my family, that it’s a way to show my love for them. It’s the desire of my heart to create a safe warm home for those I love, but honestly, I’m not always thrilled about carrying it out. I feel so much gratitude for all I have, so why is my heart not glad to do the things that must be done to maintain them?
As much as I dread it, I open my desk drawer. Removing my journal, I open it to the other list that haunts me. This list isn’t compiled of things I must do with my hands, but with my heart, and until they are all marked off, I truly cannot approach anything in life with joy.
I sigh and say a prayer as I begin to read the names of those I must forgive. My eyes take in the losses I must grieve, the rejection I must face, and the hurts I must let go of. My entire body feels like stone as I turn to the most humbling page of all, the amends I must make. These things are the true “housekeeping” I must maintain, otherwise they weigh down every area of my life.
External circumstances often grow to resemble internal circumstances. Chaos, clutter, and messiness in my environment is a signal, a reflection of what is going on inside. And until I become willing to clean up my internal world, I always struggle and seem to fail at cleaning up my external world. And it’s at this moment I realize the safe warm home I desire to create for my family begins inside of me.
Through prayer, journaling and scripture I reach down into the deepest cellar vaults of my soul and pull out a handful of squalor that I must face. I look at my most deplorable secrets and humbling memories and begin the healing process that must be endured if I hope to be free. Slowly, steadily the tangle begins to dissolve and the weight lifts. As pain and shame exit, serenity enters. I begin to feel clean inside, and clear minded. Satisfied I breathe deep, look at my list of pain all marked off and smile to myself. I pick up my housework list again and tell myself, “I can do this” and with a glad heart I get to work.
Sarah Leslie blogs at A Timely Word.