I’ve had this post mulling in my head for weeks. It was one of those where the words would play out beautifully in my head, and then every time I would sit down to write the words would come out as a jumbled mess. Then Friday happened, that absolute horror in Connecticut, and I found myself in Target with tears rolling down my face grasping to understand evil and crying for the parents and families whose lives were robbed of normal. So now, I finally write. And those words? About life – and normal. ~Rachel
I was grumbling.
Not your normal grumble, but rather that under the breath discontent grumble that can be easy to adopt when one isn’t careful. My older boys’ room looked like it had never been cleaned before. I am completely not joking sadly serious. Toys mixed together with papers with peels of a clementine that should never have been there with pens and markers and clothes and dirty socks and books and anything else you could imagine. It was all there – percolating into this gigantic mess that took me four hours to straighten and deal with. Leftovers from weeks where the cleaning was just on the surface leaving behind residue and the obvious example that looking at stuff on the surface doesn’t really solve the issue.
Grumble, grumble, grumble.
The boys would come in and offer to help and I would just grumble back at them. I don’t need your help or if you had just been a steward of your room this crazy chaos wouldn’t have happened or I’ll just do it myself. Martyr mom. That was me. Complaining, not accepting help, and just grumbling my way through normal.
I pulled out the vacuum determined to at least get the floor clean even though I had a massive pile of things to sort through. I flipped it on, the soft hum filled the room, and I looked up to see Caleb sitting there, on his bed, stacking books and pulling Legos out of the pile and tossing them in the large bin. He looked at me, the grumbling mom, and simply smiled. A sincere I love you even when you complain about this messy room smile.
As I held the vacuum, still running, my eyes welled up with tears. When did I lose the beauty in this normal, even though the normal like today was frustrating? When did the gift of having children in my home get lost and I instead just wanted every little thing perfect and tight and without mess?
Childhood is messy. My goodness, life is messy.
We don’t know our days. This is even more pressed on me as I look at pictures of little children who are no older than my own kids whose lives were unfairly lost last [December]. Those parents would give anything for a room cluttered with a pile of stuff and an eager little one there to help sort through the pieces and here I was grumbling. Perspective, perspective, perspective.
It’s so easy to lose.
Sadly, it’s often when we lose the things that matter that we regain the perspective of just how much those things, those people, matter to us. It baffles my mind how quickly I lose sight of the joy in the gifts in life that are smack in front of my face. But, how to keep it? Keep vacuuming beautiful. Choose something, a daily task – laundry, dishes, folding clothes, picking up – and make it a benchmark, a reminder, for you to remember the preciousness of the life that you have in front of your face. And make it something that is the most unglamorous. I’ve found that when you lose normal you miss those things the most and long for the days when you can simply vacuum a room with your seven year old sitting on the bed cleaning beside you.
Life is good. Life is a gift. Life is precious.
Don’t let the mundane moments in life rob you from the beauty of normal that surrounds you. Remind yourself to look for the beauty, the gems that are tucked within the fabric of the everyday normal. Force yourself to wake up, to see, the remember, and to be thankful for the blessings that fill your life.
Don’t lose sight of the good.
Vacuuming is beautiful. It’s a representation of normal, and normal, my dear friends, is an absolute gift. Celebrate normal. Celebrate those vacuuming the kids’ floor who made a huge mess but are sitting in your home playing moments of life.
Keep perspective. Savor today. Love the little things.
This post was originally published on Finding Joy on December 17, 2012. Reprinted with permission.