There are days when I sit down on the couch or at the kitchen table and everything seems pretty normal. I’m usually in the middle of reading a book or working on a project and my mind is usually wrapped up in those very things. Then there are days when I sit down, take a look around, and wonder how this apartment gets to be such a mess. Most days it seems to remain in a state of minor chaos with dishes piling up in the sink, scraps of fabric laying all over the dining room chairs, and the dirty laundry hamper overflowing after just a few days of neglect. There are magazine clippings of random inspiration, half finished art projects, and yarn clippings stuck to rugs and under chairs.
Craig Groeschel said in a sermon once that he and his wife used to be strategic about keeping their house clean. They took pride in keeping things organized, vacuumed, and arranged properly. They just loved having a clean home. And then they had six kids. He said they reached a point where they could either spend their time cleaning and picking up after everyone, or they could be okay with things being a little messy if it meant they could spend quality time as a family. They chose to put their family above having a sparkly, clutter-free home.
I know we don’t have six kids, but we’ve come up with a similar mantra of our own. If you’re going to live a creative life in a creative home, there’s going to be some mess with it. There are going to be scraps of paper and fabric on the floor. Some projects are going to be too inspiring to put down to finish the laundry. Sometimes talking about our future is going to take precedence over running the vacuum. And that’s okay.
I once called a friend and said, “I’m coming to Tulsa today and I want to see you. Can I come by your house?” And knowing, like every woman does, that she immediately thought of her one year old and his toys strewn about, I followed up with, “And don’t you dare clean your house.” She didn’t. And when I got there, toys were everywhere, crayons and color pages littered the hallway, and the beds weren’t made. She had been playing with her son, letting him be creative and live his little life to the fullest. I still think of it often, though I know she’s forgotten it by now. There was just something so beautiful and wonderful about knowing that this was their life as a family. It was raw and messy and naive. And it was completely beautiful.