Monday, March 21, 2011

Counting Blessings

Mismatched socks in with the pots and pans.

One pair of training pants in the around-the-world puzzle game.

Cheerios that crunch under my feet after I just swept.

Laundry that never ends.

"I'm hungry," heard all day long.

These are things that show that my children are healthy, active, creative, and silly.

Can I be thankful for the messes because I am thankful for the children?

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

I Thessalonians 5:18

I was listening to a relationship talk-show host on the radio a few years ago. A woman called in complaining about her husband. Apparently he never put away his dirty clothes. And he always left cupboard doors and drawers open. If he made a sandwhich, he left everything out, knowing his wife would come along and pick-up after him. "He's worse than the kids!" she said. The wife was tired of his behavior and wanted him to change. The host listened and then told the woman that her husband probably wasn't going to change his messy ways, so she might as well get used to it.

A bit later in the show, the relationship expert host said that she just received an email related to the "my husband never picks up his stuff" call. The letter went something like this:

I was listening to the call moments ago about the husband who absently leaves his things out and never closes cupboards or drawers. I would give anything to pick up after my husband again. After 5 years battling cancer, my husband died last year. I miss him terribly. I miss picking up his socks that he tossed right next to the hamper. I miss the wet towels he left on the floor. I miss him leaving his paper beside the chair. I even miss the messes he left in the kitchen. Now I never find something out that I didn't get out myself. I am alone. Please pass on to your listeners to remember that picking up after someone is not a chore, but a blessing in disguise. Those messes mean there is life.

I remember that woman's words and think of her sentiment almost daily. Stooping to pick up mess, after mess, after mess. Mostly my children, but sometimes my husband. Will their clutter never end? It feels like I take one step forward and fourteen steps backward in trying to keep my house "presentable."

Give thanks in all circumstances.

My sister-in-law has 4 energetic young boys and often gets stares and remarks when she is out in public. People say to her, "Wow, your hands are full!" To that she replies, "Better than empty." After almost losing her youngest son at birth, she knows too well that energetic and healthy, plus the chaos that goes with it, is a blessing.

I need this reminder today as I look around my messy well-lived-in home and am distracted by naughty rambunctious children. I don't know where to start. Laundry or dishes? Sweep or knock down cobwebs? Then I'll have to dust and who is unfolding all the laundry!!? Again.

The frustrations mount, I feel overwhelmed and grumpy. I saw the mess and forgot about the people who are healthy, active, creative, and silly. Without them, I would sit around in a clean house and be lonely, missing them.... and their messes.

Those messes and frustrations will still be there. (Believe me, there isn't a maid who will miraculously swoop in and save the day). So instead, I'll call my husband and say, "I love you and miss you." I'll cuddle my children on a cluttered carpet and read stories. I'll rock them and kiss their hair that needs a bath. I'll say "I love you, precious child." My family and everything that goes along with them are blessings. Sometimes in disguise.

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

I Thessalonians 5:18


1 comment:

M. Cazin said...

Thanks for the reminder. I have heard that story before and try to remember it each time I am picking up after my husband. However, as I begin parenting, I need to remember that when my house is not as clean as I have been use to. So, I am going to feed my beautiful son and snuggle him on this rainy afternoon.