Life is messy. Sometimes the messiness is physical and you can actually see it whether it be the disheveled state of your car, or home, or office. Sometimes the mess is a life event that comes at you out of left field, totally catches you off guard, and throws your ordered universe into disarray. Sometimes the messiness is all on the inside as you struggle to understand long-standing emotions or patterns of thought and behavior that seem impossible to decipher.
For long periods of time we may feel totally incapable of straightening the mess up; we might even feel paralyzed and not even try. Like so much else in life, sometimes you just have to accept the chaotic state of affairs as they are and just trust that there will come a day when the path ahead will become clear.
For most of my adult life I was not particularly good at keeping my house in order. Even though I was embarrassed by its general untidiness and clutter, apparently I wasn’t embarrassed enough to do anything about it. But then about 15 years ago someone I worked with died suddenly and prematurely. It got me thinking – if I died suddenly, what message would the state of my house send about how I valued or didn’t value myself? You know what, I didn’t like the answer that was waiting for me. So, gradually, turning my house into a home became more of a priority. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a clean freak – not by a long shot. (Actually I’m still pretty bad about cleaning my house.) But I do regularly go through my belongings so that I keep the number of items manageable and I do pick up after myself pretty regularly; more days than not I make my bed. And it feels good. I like that my house can welcome guests on fairly short notice. And I like the calmness that awaits me when I arrive home on days when I’ve done the dishes and stacked the mail neatly and hung my clothes up. When I can actually see the glass atop the dining room table and the wood of the small table that sits by the front door. Not every day is like that but enough are.
Today I had an epiphany about some personal issues I’ve been dealing with for a long, long time. I asked myself a question which I’ve asked many times before but today a clear and honest answer awaited me for the very first time. Knowing the answer doesn’t change my life; at least not right away. But it has made me understand my feelings and previous choices better; consequently I feel more forgiving of myself. Just like coming home to a tidy house, my emotions feel like they are at least momentarily organized into some coherent pattern. Things are no longer all a jumble and there feels like there is space now for new ideas and the potential for behaving differently in the future.