Monday, March 5, 2012

keeping house

I've just finished my evening "rounds" of picking up, putting away, conjuring a modicum of order in the midst of the chaos that threatens to engulf our household by day's end. I don't do anything too ambitious in these evening rounds. There is no vacuuming or mopping or dusting. No major feats of organization. Just tidying.

This cyclical, relentless work of domestic life can feel burdensome. On burdened days, I carry my lot clumsily, lording it about like a pained martyr, insisting that the rest of the family feel my pain with me. Those days are doubly hard, and, frankly, embarrassing.

On days of more grace, I can feel in my work the thrumming rhythm of family life. The cycles of folded clean laundry and carelessly strewn dirty clothing, tidied bedrooms and floors covered in books, toys, clothes and bedding, clear kitchen countertops and the unspeakable messes of flour and overboiled sauces and stacked dirty dishes we are too tired to clean — they all speak of life well lived, in one way or another. Creativity, love, and learning are all messy enterprises. But it is in the next step of cleaning up after ourselves and each other, that we extend our care for the people, places and things we love a little further.

This domestic work is never really done. On days of particular clarity of mind and heart, humble chores feel like meditation.

In any case, it is the stuff of my days and it is easier to make peace than to rail against. I was explaining to the Boy Builder how much better I feel when the house is tidy and how I feel creatively inspired. He said "And then your creativity makes you mess it up again." Yes, exactly. So wise and so young.
Celebration of neglected cleaning chores completed in two parts
Part 1: I actually cleaned the sink, not just got all the dishes out of it
Part 2: I cleaned the keyboard; the absence of grime is exhilarating!

1 comment:

  1. I need to keep this post in mind during the coming months!! - tori