When Clutter Isn’t Just About Your House, But Your Heart
I wanted to do something loving, to show my gratitude for all he’s done for me.
After all, helping someone recover from post-traumatic stress can be… well…
Can you imagine seeing the one you love so dearly go through such physical and emotional hardship day in and day out?
It would tear at your heart, breaking it a little more every time you relived a painful memory through her eyes, as she’d recount each story to you unguarded.
Can you imagine waiting alongside the one you love — staying strong enough on the outside, in order to remain soft and tender on the inside — to listen, hold, and comfort while she cried, and yet there was nothing you could do to fix it?
What would it be like to work a full day’s job at the office, only to return home to help with the kids, getting sleep sliced up tending to children’s wake-ups, then rising up ready them for school, to ease your wife’s burdens?
The journey to love someone as they heal calls a husband to give everything in his power to take care of the woman he loves.
He will keep going, even when his heart and body are telling him he should stop and rest too — even as love takes a toll on him as well.
So as I headed toward one year ending and another beginning, I searched my mind for something I could offer my husband — as a token of my appreciation and recognition of the journey he’s been on — to walk with me through the changing kaleidescope of emotional and physical challenges of healing. It’s a terrain that isn’t forgiving because it’s equally disorienting and uncertain for the person who is holding your hand, as you walk through the fog and feel the pain.
What is something practical that I could do, that could encourage him for remaining journey ahead?
This was really hard because I’m using all my energy to do very simple things for myself right now. What could I possibly do for him — that would make a difference?
I couldn’t think of anything big I could do.
So, I brainstormed a cluster of small ideas. I’m not able to offer much. And even though it feels like nothing compared to what I wanted to do — which is to just be all better and take care of him — I was eager to try, even if in the trying, he’d be touched by the act of it.
One of the top three things that jumped into my mind was…
I want to get rid of the clutter.
Out The Window
Trying to recover from post-traumatic stress basically throws housework out the window.
Not to say I was super Martha Stewart prior to my journey through stress and anxiety.
Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, I was super organized, extremely detailed oriented at work. I crossed all my t’s and dotted my i’s.
But, at home, it was a different story. I always throught myself as a creative type. I don’t like to be boxed in. I’m free flowing. Spontaneous.
From our first days of dating, I’ve not been shy or apologetic about my housekeeping perspective.
I am clean.
I am neat.
But, I organize my life in clean, neat piles. I know where everything is. Just don’t touch my piles.
I’m not a horder by any means. I keep my piles in check. But, I do tend to stack things together and never had a problem having different items to co-habitate the same space.
But, my husband on the other hand is clean, neat and no-stacking-allowed-type organized. He views the words piles and organized as oxymorons, while they co-exist in a symbiotic relationship in my world.
The First Time
The first time Eric invited me over to his place to cook me dinner (yes, I was super impressed), he handed me a crisply folded piece of paper that read, “Le Menu”. I was over-the-moon with excitement and after acting calm and giddy for a few minutes, I excused myself.
I wanted to check out his bathroom. I was expecting bachelor pad standard fare. But, instead I was blinded by shiny tile and sparkling faucets. I checked behind the shower curtain and I stood amazed. Oh my gosh. This guy has housecleaning service!
Yes! This bodes well for me in the future. I noted.
Imagine my alarm, then, as I’m trying to delicately pop edaname into my mouth without shooting them across the table, my new beau tells me the only housecleaning service he employs are his own two hands.
My sweet husband proposed to me knowing full well what he was getting into.
Housecleaning is not one of my love languages.
But, that is exactly why I decided — I must do something about the growing clutter that’s been left unchallenged during this season of healing in my life.
It had gotten to a level where it’s stressing me out to have stuff in every part of the house.
Then, it dawned on me.
If it’s so stressful for me, how stressful it must be for my husband, to live in a home where things just aren’t put away. Just waiting to be processed.
I want him to know how very much I love and care about his well-being. I wanted to speak in his love language.
I decided one Saturday morning.
It’s time to get practical.
I don’t know when I’m going to be back up to full capacity.
I need to get rid of stuff.
The less stuff I have, the less I’ll need to clean up, organize and keep track of.
The more energy and time I’ll regain, to enjoy what feeds my soul.
The more my sweet husband will feel relaxed in our home.
The desire to de-clutter and organize my home started with a deep longing to touch my husband’s heart, to let him know how much his sacrifices have meant to me.
I never would have guessed that a home organizing attempt would bring me deeper into the heart of God’s passion to free me from the pain of the past — so I can live as the Beloved in my today.
More Than An Organization Project
A seemingly innocuous housekeeping chore became another step in my spiritual journey for my heart’s homecoming.
For Jesus to free up space my soul.
To let go and find rest.
De-cluttering for me became more than an organization project.
It isn’t the way books depict it.
Getting rid of clutter is not easy.
Because letting go involves looking at what you’re holding onto.
Because sometimes, it’s time to say goodbye to what once gave you comfort,
so you can face the place of empty,
to surrender yourself to what your heart truly longs for.
It’s what Jesus is whispering to you –
Yes. I know.
I have more than this.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
~ Isaih 40:10
… To be continued… Dear friends, I want to finish today’s post, but it is very late and I need to stop and lay down. Trust me when I tell you this isn’t just a post on de-cluttering. God revealed something deep and true to my heart as I took my first steps to getting rid of stuff to organize my home.
As I called up my high school best friend Annette to come over and help me clean up, I never would have guessed an innocent project to get organized would unfurl some hard and beautiful flashes of what it means to be loved — along with the steps God led me to take — to live as the Beloved daughter of His.
How has God met you in your journey to make your home a more restful space for your soul?
How do you respond to this week’s faith prompt “clutter”?
Pull up a chair. I’m curious how today’s topic speaks to you.Click to comment and read each other’s thoughts.
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*Today’s 1/24/13 Writing Prompt: “Clutter” (inspired by Faith Jam contributer Glynn Young’s One Word for 2013 at Faith, Fiction, Friends.
*Next Thursday’s 1/31/13 Writing Prompt is one word: “Yes” (inspired by Faith Jam contributor Dawn’s One Word for 2013 at It Dawned on Me.
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