Family is Messy

Have you ever had a pile of laundry on a hallway, bedroom, or bathroom floor? You know, for days?

Actually, I once took a picture of our twin sons when they were three or four and had fallen asleep on a pile of dirty laundry at the end of the hall in our previous home. True story.

What about several spots in need of dusting? I know, for instance, that our family is quite adept at cultivating the ideal environment for daddy long-legs. (Honestly, it’s like they emerge ex nihilo). We aspire to dust, but our actions don’t often reach our aspirations.

Or what about stacks of books that you can’t fit on the bookcase? I mean, seriously, you don’t get rid of books just because you’ve gotten a few more. Right? Please tell me I can keep my books.

Maybe for you dishes are left soaking too long in a sink of tepid water. A rarity for us, thanks to a dishwasher given to us as a gift years ago. If it stops working, there might be weeping and gnashing of teeth. I could very well end up anointing myself with ashes.

Clutter is certainly an issue in our house. Stuff we shift from one location to another without really cleaning up. My wife has actually been listening to e-books on minimalism. Notice I said e-books.

Maybe most frustrating, once you’ve cleaned up, it’s usually not long before you’re busy at the same tasks again. It’s like the instructions on a shampoo bottle: rinse, repeat.

Home life is messy.

Our home life is messy because there are five of us (plus two dogs!) sharing a home, using bathrooms, going through clothes, pilfering from the fridge, not putting stuff away, avoiding using the broom, WetJet, and mop as much as humanly possible, and adding to the wear and tear of the house we live in.

Homes are messy usually because people are messy. Families are messy. Life is messy.

Left to myself, my living environment would probably be much neater, straightened out, and orderly. But frankly I’ve had to let go of some of that tendency for the sake of sanity. Only if I were single and childless would there be much hope in my having a picture perfect home.

(Though if my Mom were still alive, she might have cause to disagree since she knew what my room was like as a teenager.)

But you know what? It’s in the mess of our family life that we celebrate a weekly Sabbath, pray for one another, say sorry for a word unkindly spoken, sit around reading together when there’s cleaning to do, play silly board games, tell bad jokes, help one another, do homework, and, occasionally, work on putting laundry away together.

As aggravating as life with family can sometimes be, more often our relationships with one another are deep wells of grace. And since life in this world can leave me quite thirsty, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Not even if it meant having a perfectly clean house.

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