Today I HAD to clean the kitchen. It was a total wreck - mostly because when given the choice I ALWAYS opt for the most fun thing to do. And it had been a busy week for me. There were Holy Week liturgies to finish, Irish music gigs to play, books to read, music to listen to and some TV dramas to watch with my honey. None of which boded well for this year's "Good House-keeping award." So, after breakfast I devoted some serious time to clearing the counters of nasty, dirty dishes. And I'll spend the better part of the day tomorrow cleaning the rest of the house, too.
Later, as I was taking a short nap, I started to think to myself, "Man, you are just lazy... cuz this place is a dump!" But that really isn't the truth. (Well, this place IS currently a dump but...) I you would ask most folk who know me if lazy was part of my identity, they would laugh, shake their heads and say, "absolutely not." In just the last few weeks alone I've read and/or started the following books:
+ Food and Faith: a theology of eating by Norman Wirzba
+ Ravished by Beauty (a look at nature and beauty in the works of John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards) by Belden Lane
+ Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
+ A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell
+ The Dead Lie Down by Sophie Hannah
+ The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
+ A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Morris
+ The Last Sultan by Robert Greenleaf
+ A Cross in Our Context by Douglas John Hall
What's more, last week I played four back to back Irish music gigs in three days, did a complicated funeral, wrote liturgies for Good Friday, Maundy Thursday and Palm Sunday, visited some folk in their homes, shared a few pastoral conversations, led public worship and played another Irish gig last night. So, lazy doesn't exactly cut it...
But my kitchen was still a wreck, yes? And given the choice, I would go for sitting on the deck in the sun sipping good tea while reading the NT Times - or listening to the new Springsteen CD - to getting the dishes washed. Or unpacking my suitcase from last month's trip to Nashville. Or raking the debris from the yard now that an early spring has arrived. Enter the archetype of the hedonist...
+ Oh yeah there are other archetypes at work in my psyche - Father, King, Priest and more - but there is no dobut that I love the sensual on every level.
+ Hence some of my undisciplined choices... and clutter.. and our trashed kitchen.
So, while thinking about all of this, a Neil Young song came to mind...
In another important recent book, The Play-Full Life: Slowing Down and Seeking Peace (Jaco Hamman), I've wrestled with what happens when the sensual is not balanced with the responsible: a mess emerges in so many ways. But contrary to what so much of my earlier religious training might suggest, these days I'm willing to live with a lot of the mess because at this point in my life, I wouldn't trade my full, rich, musical, prayerful, loving, humorous and sensual life for all clean kitchens in creation. (Di suggested another song and I think it cuts true, too along with my man Dylan's "Leopard-skin Pill Box Hat, yeah?!))
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Made me thing of the great moral theologian, Erma Bombeck, who wrote this after being told she would soon die of cancer in something called, "My Regrets" - me, too sister: to hell with clean kitchens!
I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, 'Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.' There would have been more 'I love you's' More 'I'm sorry's.'
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute.look at it and really see it .. live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!!!
Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what
Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us
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