It’s very peaceful here this morning. Tree arrived last night and I was up too late and didn’t do my dishes, but I got up and got the dishwasher and clotheswasher running and drank coffee and waited for the children to start appearing.
Himself got up early to work on a broken freezer to tool cabinet conversion project he has.
Raphael is watching Wild Kratts. Julian is pulling all the board books off the shelf. David is reading A Series of Unfortunate Events. I’m making a PDF of the Clue sheets because the Clue-crazy boys on my block have used them all up.
And as I look around at the mess and the insanity up here, I know I’m more at peace with the clutter inherent with people who live and breath and make and are in their home that I could ever be in a house that is painstakingly decorated and curated.
Decoration and curation and painful order are also an expression of self. They just aren’t the expression of myself. Or my children’s selves. Or Himself. Although Himself is the most consciously distressed by the mess, and so I make an effort to keep mine in check for his sake. And keeping messes in check is less ‘run around cleaning up after everyone’ and more ‘finish what you started and stop squirreling’. Which is pretty hard for all of us. Thus the mess. At least we’re happier this way than in a painfully clean house with nowhere comfy to flop around and llama-face.
Many, many essays call on houses to be clean and orderly as a fundamental expression of the Christian life in the domestic church. But as for me and my house… we all make things. Compulsively and unstoppably. We cook, we grill, we garden, we embroider, we knit, we woodwork, we paint, we cosplay, we educate, we science, we write, we shoot, we chainmail, we photograph. We pray. And it’s all visceral and tangible and messy and imperfect. But it is us. We are sub creators. We would wither on the vine without tools and materials and conundrums.
A house does not have to be always painfully cleaned and ordely to express the domestic church. It is the love of those who live within it that expresses this.
For thus says the LORD,
The creator of the heavens,
who is God,
The designer and maker of the earth
who established it,
Not as an empty waste did he create it,
but designing it to be lived in:
We live, and as we live, we make, and as we make, we love.