Eight days of a clean, orderly, quiet house. No shoes kicked off and left in the middle of the room to trip over. No drawers or cabinets left wide open to run into. No emptied pockets cluttering the dresser top. No hurricanes or tornado paths.
The carpet looked vacuumed days after it had been. In the mornings, I gave my side of the covers one little flip and, voila, the bed was made. Laundry? What’s that? And dinners? Popcorn passes, right? No one to take care of. No one to clean up after. Tranquil evenings of reading without interruption.
Eight days of my husband on the opposite side of the country.
As an introvert, alone time is sort of the equivalent of bliss. And a quiet, calm house is sort of the equivalent of a much-needed sanctuary at the end of the day.
But although there was no mess or commotion in the house, there was also no life. Because, let’s face it, life is messy. The bed was made, but there was no one beside me to hold my hand. No obnoxious music blaring from Dave’s Pandora station first thing in the morning, but no smile to follow me around the room as I got ready. No clothes to wash, but no scent to smell. No noise or interference, but no recounting of the moments of our day.
Life happens in the mess. Piles are unavoidable. But maybe it’s just a matter of changing our perspective on what we’re seeing. Piles of dishes on the counter or piles of family time spent around the table. Piles of kiddos clobbering the microfiber couch or piles of sibling bonds being threaded together for life. Piles of shoes at the door or piles of childhood adventures being lived?
What do you see? Piles of laughs. Of lessons learned and sacrifices made. Of failures and grace. Of memories captured. Because it’s not about a house, clean or messy; it’s about a home.
Within the hour of Dave returning, the place was a wreck. As I teased him, I looked across the bed and immediately thought, but you’re worth every hurricane. And when we prayed together his first morning back, you know what the very first words out of his mouth were? “Thank you for home.”
Home is where life happens. In the messy middle of the journey. In the in-between stages. In the, “we don’t quite have things figured out yet” moments and the, “this tests every ounce of patience I have” days. It’s here where we not only write our stories, it’s where we share them.
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