The house as a metaphor

This past week has been a struggle. I have been on the March Break holiday (much needed!) and I hoped to get lots of work done in terms of tidying, cleaning, and organizing the house. Since we got out of our storage locker (yay!!) There have been boxes sitting, waiting for their contents to find a home … and since we have a much smaller place now, there isn’t anywhere these boxes won’t be visible.

I guess I work better in crisis mode – when I have a tight schedule, I don’t sleep as much, the critical things get more or less done (but not the tidying & cleaning, which is why my house feels like a disaster) but I am too busy to worry much about it.

It has seemed so very difficult to make any headway this week – like walking through molasses. We had a terrific long weekend in the hometown, where I didn’t have to make any decisions with regards to food, lots of great hanging out with my parents and aunt, DH’s parents and family etc. Unfortunately I did not handle the change of (lack of) structure so well. The prayers I regularly say for my morning commute, evening commute, and before bed – didn’t really happen. I even missed going to church with the time change, a long night time sleep (I’ve been having lots of those – I guess sleep deprivation catches up with you) – and the commitment to DH’s parents to be there for the big Sunday lunch. It was a nice break but it didn’t get anything done for us on the home front.

Once home, things just didn’t seem to go much better. In spite of beautiful weather outside, we spent a lot of time indoors as I wrestled with the ‘stuff’ in the house – trying to get a handle on the kitchen, catching up with laundry, going through boxes to get rid of things ….

If my house is a metaphor for my soul, there is A LOT of work to be done. I could probably even draw a parallel between leaving our newer, more roomy (and expensive) house to this older, more interesting house where we have rented out half and thus live in a smaller place.

I need to get rid of some stuff, organize the rest, and keep up with the daily routines that will keep things peaceful. I know one way to do this – through the flylady.net site – which worked for me about 10 years ago. Somehow it is hard to get back into it and stick to it, although her methods are designed for people like me! It feels too elementary, too much like ‘yes I know this and I should be able to skip ahead already…’ but my approach has not been working. Perhaps pride is another roadblock here.

I made it to church last night (Friday) and just put the whole thing before God. IN my experience, when life feels like I am trying to trudge through molasses, something is going on. Perhaps I am off the path that is meant for me – through a decision or a falling away from the routine things that help to keep my faith alive and attentive – and I accept it could also be a time that allows me to ‘exercise’ my muscles of faith and persistence etc.

One of my friends came over last night as we usually meet on Fridays to do our prayer group thing. I had asked for her help to boost a couple of boxes up into the attic, but was reconsidering given the disastrous state of upstairs! But she came upstairs, and caught sight of a room that has just been draining the energy, spirit and hope out of me – and before you know it, we were in there working away, sorting, tossing, organizing. It has seemed so daunting to even begin, on my own – so depressing to just go in there and see failure everywhere I turned. With a friend – talking, laughing, and not feeling judged – it took time but it got done. (we did a shorter prayer thing afterwards!).

It made me think of a time in the fall when another friend came by to hang out once the kids were in bed so I could get out to do something (I can’t remember what – dentist? hair appointment?) I was so thankful to be able to get out and take care of this long-awaited thing. Wouldn’t you know, she rolled up her sleeves and cleaned the kitchen for me – another time when things had spiralled down into survival mode, and I just had to kind of close my eyes and keep on functioning until a time would come when I could climb on top again. It is such a gift to have help when needed – a reminder that we are not alone in the world, even when we feel we ought to be able to do all of this without help – if we are strong, competent people.

It still makes me emotional to think of the care and concern from these friends, who have come in to help when I am most discouraged and defeated. I should mention that family (DH, mom, MIL) have often been a great help as well, and I appreciate that so much! What makes the friend help so striking, though, it is that it is more unexpected I think.

I wish I were a naturally organized, tidy person. If you are – it is such a blessing to have a tidy, peaceful environment – which most of the time, I wish I had but certainly have not had for a long time.

I suppose I should go back to the flylady system – step one, day one – as frustrating as it is to me right now; as much as it makes me feel that I was further ahead 10 years ago and have slipped all the way back. I don’t know why it is so difficult to contemplate starting something that will take a lot of time, but which I know will work eventually – just by establishing and faithfully following routines – boring, small little routines that seem to get you nowhere and are so very easy to dismiss when you are extra tired, that seem like chains sometimes but really will bring you more peace once they become part of your fabric.

And thus I see the metaphor for my soul, the habits of interior life, etc.

(sigh)

I am not sure of the source for this, but parts of it really fit right now.

Your Best Friend Or Your Worst Enemy

I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.
I will push your onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half of the things you do, you might just as well turn them over to me and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed, you must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done, and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great people; and alas of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a human.
You may run me for profit or run me for ruin; it makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me and I will place the world at your feet.
Be easy with me, and I will destroy you.
WHO AM I? I AM HABIT.

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One thought on “The house as a metaphor

  1. I am in the middle of being out of my normal structure right now, and it is definitely throwing everything off! Worth it to see everyone, but a pain nonetheless.

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