That pile of laundry. That sink full of dishes. Footprints all over the floor I just mopped. And didn’t I just organize that bookshelf and clean that mirror? You couldn’t tell by looking at them.
It’s a typical feeling. A feeling I assume any stay-at-home-daughter, wife, or mother gets frequently. That feeling of not being able to keep up, of repeating the same cleaning and cooking processes over and over and over – without ever seeming to get ahead.
It can be a stressful emotion. We want that clean, organized, and well-decorated house. You know, the ones Pinterest cheerfully flaunts every time we sit down for a brief scroll-through? We want the crusty loaves of whole wheat bread and fresh apple pies cooling on our counter tops. We want the blooming rose bushes of Better Homes and Gardens. Even those adorable little snowflake marshmallows you see around Christmas are just so enthralling.
I have to admit right here and now that Emilie Barnes is my hero. Pinterest is like a best friend. I have a passion for organization, creating lovely atmospheres, and all things pertaining to candles, Pine Sol, and the perfect piecrust.
But that is not always real life.
Real life tends to be a clutter of dirty little boots, piled-high laundry (no matter how hard it is labored at), and even the occasional burned dinner. Sometimes the bread doesn’t rise. Sometimes the bed doesn’t even get made, let alone the sheets changed. And – horror of horrors – sometimes we serve boxed macaroni and cheese for supper.
And none of it is worth stressing about. None of it is worth hurting the people around us because of our tunnel vision on things. Because, when we focus on inanimate objects like that dirty floor, the wrinkled coverlets, or soiled tablecloths, we tend to forget what is truly important. We tend to miss the hearts of people around us.
I am very adamant about good housekeeping. But I’ve had to take a step back over the years as the Lord started working on showing me what is truly important.
In the end, what will our best memories be? Or our worst regrets? Will we look back on life and be sorry that we scrubbed the bathroom shower on that day when a hurting friend needed someone to call her instead? Will our children remember us for being angry at the water they dripped all over the floors after playing in the rain? We could have spent all afternoon cooking a gourmet meal, but if we are snappish and too tired to give our husband the attention he really wants after dinner, was it worth it? We might have gotten a dozen business-related emails done, but have entirely forgotten to send that text message to the boyfriend who really needed a word of encouragement.
Life is fleeting. Work will always be there. People won’t be. Babies grow up, grandparents pass away, and treasured friends get diagnosed with an incurable disease. In a single moment, the people we take for granted or are so busy “serving” that we forget to enjoy can be taken away from us.
So cherish the moment. Let’s strive together in not allowing busyness to make us forget what is really important. Martha Stewart, Good Housekeeping, and Better Homes and Gardens all have their proper place and are wonderful tools. But the hearts of people and treasuring relationships come first.
Cherish the moment.