Easter is here, and so is spring in Louisiana. The trees and gardens around our neighborhood are starting to show off, bursting out in every shade of green with a few pinks and whites thrown in for good measure. Life is coming back in full force, and even without all the obvious connections to the Resurrection, nature’s fresh start would still brings encouragement to my heart. It’s easy to believe that The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord (Ps 33).
Inside my house, on the other hand, the signs of life aren’t so uplifting. Any walk through our halls will require dodging toys of all sorts, shoes, art supplies, a sleeping dog, and probably several items of clothing discarded by a certain toddler. I’d love to have a tidy house. I really would. Unfortunately (my husband’s and my own bad habits aside) that’s not where we are in life right now. We are in the three-year-old-pulls-out-a-new-toy-every-ten-minutes phase, and no one has the time to follow him around and make sure he picks up all of them as soon as he’s done playing. Besides that, there are seven people, all with projects and interests and stacks of books, living in this rather small house. Tidy is not something we do well.
Life, on the other hand, we’re reasonably good at. Block towers, picture book avalanches, sourdough volcanoes, and muddy boots are evidence of the learning and growing that is going on all the time. Most of the things I most enjoy doing (sewing, baking, gardening) involve creating some mess, and my kids’ interests are no different.
So, while we still have our chore charts, and I definitely still go on desperate cleaning sprees, I’m working on leaving some space for all this life to happen. If the choice is between spilled watercolors and children who don’t know that blue and yellow make green, I’ll just have to grit my teeth and reach for a towel. Christ washed his disciples’ feet—surely I can pick up my kids’ socks.
I don’t think I’ll ever take pleasure from scattered Legos the way I do from our orange tree coming into blossom, but I also think it’s hard for our families to have the “fullness of life” Jesus promises us if our focus on tidiness makes us lose sight of the joy of creation and the joy we find in each other. I just have to keep reminding myself: my house is full of life—and life is messy!