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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Needle in a Haystack

It's been an exhausting day.  I woke up in good spirits, ate a healthy breakfast, and enjoyed my cup of joe.  Scarcely had the caffeine hit however, when I received a fateful call from my better half.  This is his first week back to work after a two month layoff (hip, hip, hooray!).  He called to let me know that the office needed his social security card and could I please find it?  There was a long, pregnant pause.  I promised I'd start looking.

Now, I know some of you are blissfully organized people.  God bless your sweet little type-A hearts.  I, on the other hand, am not.  My closet is full of bags of stuff.  Tax returns, pay stubs, grocery receipts, gift cards all living in harmony in tote bags.  There is no rhyme or reason.  Just...stuff.  Occasionally you run across a folder or two, evidence of an ill-fated attempt at organization at some point in my distant past, but there is no guarantee that its contents are uniform.  Might be children's artwork...and an insurance claim.  Seriously, it's a mess.

So when Phillip asked me to find his social security card, it was not with confidence that I checked the three places I deemed it most likely to be.  Fail.  Three hours later, after scouring through every single bag, every bin, every junk drawer and every stack of random paper on every dresser...epic fail.  And in the meantime my children had been responsible for entertaining themselves so the rest of the house was a disaster of toys, books, and fruit snacks.  I begrudgingly admitted defeat.

Now, one moral to the story is:  be careful what you pray for.  I recently felt an alien desire to become an organized person.  After all, if God can make me a morning person, He can do anything.  I think it has a lot to do with starting back to work in the fall.  Even though it is only part-time, I want to have an executable plan of attack as I take on the two year olds at Mother's Day Out, not scrambling to try to find what I did with my coloring sheets, order forms, activity plans, etc.  So when I did an inventory of my intentions and desires last week, I listed among them:  a clean, organized home.

My home is not dirty.  The dishes are always done, the floors swept, the bathrooms presentable.  No, it's clutter that gets me down.  I am a borderline hoarder and since I always think I'll get to things later, I just set them to the side.  When the piles start getting embarrassingly high, I transfer them to a tote bag.  I transfer those to my closet.  It gets to where you should not open the closet door without a hard hat.  So now that I have emptied all of the contents of my hidden clutter into my bedroom, I have a choice.  I can get organized or live in chaos.  Since that would undoubtedly be bad for my Feng Shui and I'm doing so well with stress management right now, I'm biting the bullet.  I've already moved an entire kitchen trashbag worth of stuff to the recycling bin.  I'm feeling pretty liberated, but also a little tired.

I found all kinds of interesting stuff.  I found a Christmas newsletter from a family I don't remember meeting.  I found pay-stubs and other "important" paperwork dating back to 2007.  I found Eddie's toothbrush.  Then I realized why I had let my clutter problem get out of hand.  Because every time I get motivated and start going through the closet or those boxes of junk in the garage, I hit something that stops my heart for a beat.  Something as small as a toothbrush or a bill from home health.  A "Certificate of Bravery" from the hospital.  A sock.  And usually that is the end of it.  I stuff it all back in the bag or the box, cram it back into its space, have a good cry, and decide to deal with it later.

Sometimes we don't even realize the stuff in our hearts that needs to be cleaned out.  We put it in a closet, shove it to the back, close the door and get on with our lives.  God sees those things though and He wants to heal them.  He wants me to be organized, not because cleanliness is next to godliness, which is not Scripture, by the way.  Instead because He knows having all that junk piled up, even hidden from view, stresses me out.  In the same way, He doesn't want me to shove Eddie's toothbrush back into the bin from which it came, throw it back up on the closet shelf, and distract myself until I forget about it.  No, He wants me to take a moment to heal.  To offer myself up to God as a living sacrifice, to lift up my heartache and accept Him as my Healer.  So I took a moment, held the toothbrush, and cried.  I remembered Eddie sitting with his feet in the sink, the water running over his tiny toes, while I brushed his teeth.  He loved to brush his teeth.  That's why I still had the toothbrush.  Because when it came time to throw it away after he had died, I couldn't.  It's weird the things that you just can't part with.  I did today though.  I thought of him, I told him I loved him, and I let go of the toothbrush.

I'm on my way to getting organized.  I'm cleaning the junk out of my closest, out of my garage, and out of my heart.  I'm going to find the needles in the haystack.  Maybe not the social security cards, which is no big deal, really.  We'll just order new ones.  But instead I'm going to ferret out the painful, hidden places where I haven't let God come in.  I don't know what or where they are, but He does.  It's going to hurt.  I'm expecting a few pin-pricks, a few drops of blood.  But I'm strong and courageous and God is with me.  So wish me luck.  I'm going back in.

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