My house is usually a total mess — unless you’re coming over, and then it becomes less of a mess for the time being (at least in the main living areas). It feels like tidying is just stemming back the tide of inevitable chaos of worksheets and art projects from school, leftover uneaten bits of snacks all over the kitchen table and under the high chair, and a laundry pile that feels relentless. Sometimes I get paralyzed by the amount of work that needs doing and what’s to be given up to bring order. It means my alone time is sacrificed for order or my sleep or my ideals (putting on too much TV for the kids so I can work quicker). Sometimes it feels pretty hopeless and so, as an antidote, I choose to spend some money on flowers.
Nothing lavish or expensive, just blooms from my local Trader Joe’s that are in season. Today I have pumpkin trees — and they kill two birds with one stone since they serve the function of flowers and also make me feel like I’m decorating for the seasons (which I’m woefully negligent about). Even as I walk by the kitchen table, (and you can see it in my pictures), there’s random little boy items cluttering my pretty tablescape that I try to create (usually weapons and legos and art supplies). I’m learning to focus on the flowers though and see the lego pieces as evidence of life and creativity and joy, not just mess.
Back when I was studying in Oxford for a semester one of my tutors brought attention to Edith Schaeffer’s sentiment that fresh flowers and wine are both worth investing in. And so he always had fresh flowers even on his meager salary. Flowers are little moments, little luxuries that communicate care and intentionality and joy; that make a home. What we fill our houses with matters. How we treat the spaces that we’re entrusted with matters. Do we always live in a world of “If only my house had x, y, z, then it’d be to my satisfaction?” Am I only happy if I replace my couches or get that vintage art piece? Am I only able to breathe and enjoy the people in my house if everything is picked up and put away? Do I bicker and nag (I do!) when my kids aren’t enthusiastic about cleaning up?
Fresh flowers give me a moment to pause, to remember that the world is big and beautiful and I get to bring a piece of it inside to brighten up dreary days and my own gray heart. They’re also grounding as they allow me to look at them rather than the mess; and if I can take my eyes off of the mess to look at the beauty in a bouquet, then maybe I can also practice looking into the eyes of the people in my home rather than their mess or noise or boisterousness that seems to infringe on my quiet. Perhaps flowers really do hold a lesson — not just of the beauty of a created thing, or the beauty of a home, but also of the beauty of learning it’s not about me anyway.
This is the eighth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post.