After dinner tonight, Norah blazed through her math homework in a frantic attempt to get upstairs before the apparent mosh pit party wrapped up. From the kitchen we could hear thudding, giggling, squealing and the occasional "ouch!" It was a simple math page, one she could normally do in just a few minutes. But she was going for a record time of .43 seconds. And got it wrong. As Brett plopped her down to "try it again ... slower this time", it was evident from the many lines and numbers on her page that she was in desperate need of a super-sized eraser.
I had seen an eraser somewhere recently and pulled open the junk drawer in the kitchen ... maybe it was in here. As I stared at the discombobulated mumble-jumble of things in the drawer, I heard myself say, "Aaahh ... this is a perfect example of my life right now!" Then I quickly closed the drawer - as quickly as you can close an overfilled, disorganized mess of a drawer ... poking things back in with my finger while trying not to get anything pinched. Fortunately, Daddy found a different eraser elsewhere and the duo got to work on the persnickety math problem.
I moved on to making school lunches. As I pulled open the silverware drawer I heard a scraping sound. Grrrrr ... as I peered in the drawer I could see that all the Pampered Chef and Tupperware receipts from the past 10 years had worked their way out from under the organizer and were making an escape ... taking several plastic forks, a bag of toothpicks and an Easter egg wire thingy with them. Another perfect example of too much, too much, too much crammed into too little. Again, my life in a drawer!
As I look at these two disorganized, stuffed-to-the-gills, over-flowing drawers I can see my life right now. I see some craft supplies: chalk for our kitchen blackboard, markers (the permanent ones I don't want anyone to find and use), the Easter egg dipper and an old sponge for wiping down the blackboard when we make a mistake. I also see the stuff that holds things together: glue sticks, staplers and staples, clothes pins, bag clips and several rolls of Scotch tape. We have a box of batteries ... or at least, a box where the batteries should be. We seem to be out ... a lot of little gadgets needing juice lately, I guess. We have random scrapes of paper: coupons (probably expired), manuals to a variety of appliances and some unused sticky notes. Then there are the 5 different telephone books: Qwest, school, church, MOPS and Brett's work ... we're also holding onto passed years, too. Just in case. :) Of course there is lots of silverware, and plasticware and some chopsticks and a couple of random baggies of things. Important, I'm sure. Finally, way in the back is a baggie of keys - some labeled, some mysterious.
Hmmmm ... yep. That's my life.
Creativity is something that is important to me and yet it's a challenge to fit it into life. I have memories of making homemade cards and painting little trinkets. With a full life and a full house, it's hard for me to find the time, energy and space to spread out and "get crafty!" I still do, but it's much more planned and intentional. Instead, I need to look for little opportunities to be creative ... and sometimes that means sitting with Ashley and coloring Strawberry Shortcake and Friends.
I definitely have found out how important my role is as the glue to help hold our home together. Brett is a wonderfully hands-on Daddy, but he often looks to me for the rhythm of daily life. I keep the family calendar (and work hard to keep some of it cleared) and keep track of the kids' school activities and notes. I try hard to balance the lives of the big kids with the lives of the little ones ... making sure that nobody feels left out or bored stiff. Helping the kids to be friends to each other and finding time for us all to connect and spend time together are my top priority as Glue-Stick Mom.
As for the batteries ... the empty box was a perfect illustration of my level of energy. Lacking. Of course, if I went to bed a bit earlier, I would probably have a bit more oomph ... but then I wouldn't get to hang out with Brett. So ... I'll compensate some of my loss of sleep with a little caffeine partway through the day. A little battery charge, so to speak.
The random bits and pieces of paper would represent the thoughts flitting through my brain during the day: Christmas gift ideas, emails to write, things to do, popcorn prayers, questions to ask Brett later and worries & concerns about friends and family. The busy-ness of my scatterbrained ... uh, brain.
The telephone directories would probably be all the information that I try to store and keep track of in a more organized manner. Events, birthdays, likes and dislikes, needs and wants, upcoming visits and future trips all logged into my brain, calendar and iPod. Remarkably, for the amount of info that I need to keep together, not too much gets forgotten. Thank goodness!
Some of my "drawer" items are helpful tools (i.e. forks, spoons and knives). I have a few gifts and talents that God is using right now: am a great administrator, a good helper, an encourager to fellow moms and my sense of humor gets me through many a tough day. These useful parts of my life are invaluable and its fun to see how God puts each one to task.
Then we have those pesky receipts in the silverware drawer. A stack of packing slips and records of things I've purchased ... or in the case of my life: my oopses, gaffs, mistakes, regrets and disappointments. Unfortunately, I have a memory like a steal trap for emotional hurts and heart wounds. And they're all stuffed down underneath the busy, productive parts of my life ... waiting for an opportunity to slip out and surprise me. There is a great song by Sara Groves called, "All Right Here" that talks about how we carry all our life experiences along with us, day by day. There is a terrific line in the chorus that says, "And I'm not God, I'm a girl, I confess that I don't have sea of forgetfulness". Nope, I don't forget the hurts that I have experienced or the hurts that I have caused. Even with heart-felt apologies and sincere forgiveness, those hurts seem to live just below the surface. Truly I should just throw them out ... they are dated and passed, but that's hard to do.
Finally, we have that baggie of random keys. I would say that these keys represent the opportunities I have in life. When faced with a door of possibility, I have the choice to either open it and try this "new thing" or move on to the next door. If I move on, I might miss out on something great. However, sometimes the experience behind the door isn't all I'd hoped for either. The mystery of "what's behind the door" is part of the excitement of life. It's what keeps things interesting and it's what keeps me growing. Not every door holds success. Not every door leads to fun. But every door has been fashioned by God and He has given me the key to open it. Since I know that He is good ... I'm trying to open more of the doors He has presented to me. Writing is one of these doors ... I'm not sure where it will lead, but I've opened it and am trusting Him to show me which door to open next.
Yes ... my life (and kitchen drawers) are filled to capacity. But apparently, all with things I need. When I try to clear anything out of the junk drawer or my day-to-day life, I end up with an important reason to keep everything. I'm certain that I could simplify if absolutely necessary, but for right now, I'm willing to poke and cram just a little bit ... to keep my life like it is.
But next week might be a different story. I'll let you know! :)
We had KEBL this week ... be sure to check out our Family Night O' Fun! :)