It’s confession time. I’m a slob. My house is always a mess (a productive mess, but a mess). As my husband aptly puts it, “Space, you clean like a tornado”, meaning I start a million projects, and never quite complete any of them (sigh). At least it’s not because I’m lazy, right? My kids have been raised by a mom that’s a slob, which means they aren’t all that much better. I do a lot of really great stuff in my house and it’s well lived in, but I definitely feel like I have to say “Pardon the mess” when folks stop by unexpectedly.
I tell you this for 2 reasons, 1) Because if you’re like me, I want you to know that you’re not alone (we all tend to clean up when we know others are coming over, which gives the false idea that most people are neat and tidy and we’re the oddballs who can’t keep it together) and 2) Because I’m really trying to grow in orderliness. I know that having order would make me a lot more sane and make it less embarrassing when folks drop in unexpectedly (thankfully my driveway is quite a deterrent!).
Recently I was realizing just how much the greatest commandment affects. (Follow me, I know this seems off-topic). It was a normal day (I was cleaning house, like I always seem to be, but not really getting anywhere with it, like I also, always seem to be). My firstborn son (the one that I get about 4 and a half more months with before he goes off to college) was following me around, talking my ear off. I was just savoring it. I didn’t say much of anything, I was just enjoying his voice and the fact that he still talks to me about the stuff that fills his heart… I guess that he still likes me, which is probably nothing short of a miracle at 17 years of age. At one point, it became apparent to him that he was the only one talking and he commented that I could donate to the conversation. “I really don’t want to” I told him, “I’m enjoying just listening to you.” And then it occurred to me that this is coming from the lady that likes her own voice a little too much and always has something to add to conversations… but this was my son, one of my absolute favorite human beings on earth, who I adore!
And then came the “Ah hah!” moment. If I just loved folks more, perhaps I’d listen better. And the implications are huge. Maybe if I loved all my neighbors (and family) more, I’d do better at managing my housework (instead of just making it about my own sanity and well-being). Maybe we make other things our goals, like being a better listener, or being more organized, or waking up earlier, or being more obedient and kind and… But the real goal should just be to grow in love!
Perhaps this is why Christ said that the greatest commandment was to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Because He knew that loving God would overflow into loving our neighbors and ourselves, as well as making obedience to Him flow naturally, and that loving our neighbors would enable us to better bless and serve them. Maybe love really does make the world go ’round! I think I have a new goal.
P.S. Okay, all… I wrote this an hour or so ago, and then, cleaning up one of the “sorting piles”, I stumbled on this note from my super-encouraging husband. It says “Lady, I’m sitting here by the fire late at night, like I so often do, and I’m lookin’ around the house. I wanted to let you know what I see as I look around, and the best way to explain it would be simply to say, ‘I see all that you do for the Lord, for this family and for the whole world.’ I know that you don’t look around and see the same time, but that’s what I see, and when I see it I am once again just stunned at the fact that I, of all men, get to call you, of all women, my precious wife… I look around and see the hardest working, most loving woman in the world.” Sigh. Feeling really grateful and blessed and reminded of what a different perspective will do for a soul.