After I went on and on yesterday about the blessedness of a messy house, I think I should clarify–though I blamed the chaos on the kiddos, I have to own that much (much) of the mess is mine. And not quite so much of it is my husband’s. He does his best to keep some order, but he is only one person. Much like my mother (and oh, they do talk about me) he finally stops cleaning up after me so that I will one day go oh, my, this place is a wreck…Shortly followed by that inevitable revelation: and it is my wreck…
Because in the midst of all my “blessing,” even I have my limits. Once a week or so I decide that I’m really going to get it all straight and keep it that way… And so I do the straightening, but rarely the keeping. Eventually, I always come back around to blessing the mess, finding the joy in the chaos, the sign of life that is clutter.
The only time our house gets and stays clean is when one of the Brothers Chris is visiting. Jeremy and I each have a brother named Chris, both of whom happen to be compulsively orderly people, and both of whom love us enough to clean without grousing when they are here. Last Christmas, they were BOTH here at the same time. Even with a tiny house full of company, it was clean for a solid week. It was the stuff of holiday miracles and made-for-tv Christmas movies…All this is going somplace spiritual and not the same as yesterday, I promise. What i do, on the mornings when I have not quite managed to quell the chaos, and i have no Uncle Chris in town, is give myself a tiny ritual for claiming the joy of it all…I have my coffee in the good china.
I think I represent the tail end of possibly the last generation of women to get excited about picking out good china. That awareness makes me feel kind of old, but it also makes me want to use and enjoy the place settings that I have, with gratitude for the family members who bought them for me. Because they, too, get excited about the good china, and the everyday sacred that merits its use.
Having my morning coffee in a piece of Wedgwood is a simple reminder that life is not a list of tasks, life is not waiting to happen to me at some future time when i have everything figured out, or when the house finally looks like a PB fall feature catalogue. Life is now, right this minute, and it deserves to be served in the most delicate and beautiful vessel that we have available.
Yeah, ok, maybe i use the good china because all the other cups are dirty. But still…it makes sacred space of the ordinary mess, and that will preach.