We are in the middle of a major house renovation. Maybe major isn’t the accurate term, but for a couple who has never done this, it feels significant. In the next few weeks we will have new wood flooring installed, new cabinets and paint, new appliances. The works.
Meanwhile, in order to get ready for the new wood floors, we have been removing so much tile on our own. Yesterday I came home to a torn up main floor with huge shards stacked all over and a dust and small pieces of tile everywhere. So I did what you do, I started cleaning. I swept and vacuumed and dusted for about three hours, only to find every flat surface covered in that fine dust all over again this morning. My guy informed me yesterday that it was useless to clean at this point, but I felt like I had to, and when they were done with the excavating for the day I placed the furniture back where it goes to give some semblance of order.
Why do we do this? It would be really hard for me to have someone arrive at our home and see our furniture piled into one room and dust everywhere, to know that we are currently living in chaos. It occurred to me that I feel this way about a lot of things, I often want to sanitize the situation and give the appearance that we have it all under control, when sometimes nothing could be farther from the truth.
I have tried to get better at this; I lost a lifelong friend to cancer earlier this year and mourned her passing in front of our children, friends and people I don’t know so well. I rationalized that she was worth it. I have also had three young adult children spreading their wings and beginning to fly on their own over the last three years and anyone who tells you this isn’t a hard adjustment is lying. I have heard the pain is like losing a limb that you are convinced you cannot live without, but over time you learn to do just that. Those first few weeks of change are devastating, and I shamelessly felt it with each child, crying at the grocery store and over coffee with well-meaning friends. Again, completely worth it.
But what about when life is just hard? When you have no money, or your marriage feels like a sham, or anxiety is gripping you at the throat? Do you find yourself cleaning up the place, trying to give the impression that things are great, even when all evidence says it is definitely not? I want to live a life of authenticity but don’t want to be the downer in the room who is always struggling. And yet, we are, right? Struggling, I mean. I think the answer for me is to have my people I can be totally honest with, and to work on not trying so hard to appear to be unaffected by the stresses of life.
If you want to see the state of affairs at my place, come on over, find a chair you can sit in and stay a while. You will leave covered in a fine white powder and dog hair, but while you’re here we can honestly share what’s going on in our lives.