Sometime around 5 AM, my heart was flooded with joy because of a mess in the kitchen. There is a splash of spilled baby formula left by my wife as she held our crying baby in one arm and made a new bottle with the other. There is an out-of-date consulting book strangely ramped by careless placement on top of a lemon – I left it there when I was shooing a mosquito an hour earlier. A bottle of calamine lotion, a dirty child’s bowl and spoon, and various cups waiting to be washed sit with these things under the white noise, abundant vegetation, and soothing plant lights of an Aerogarden® I gave to my wife on her last birthday.
These things, this mess, caused a surge of gratitude in me. Are these remnants not evidence that I have been blessed? And though I will clear the clutter and restore the serenity of that kitchen counter, is it not worth a moment’s pause to witness?
A clean counter is sterile, a museum piece without life or heart, compared to this.
We have flour spilled on the table from when my son was learning to make pizza with Momma. In my office, an ASPCA member magazine peeks out from a pile of business papers I haven’t gotten around to filing. On my bookshelf, unordered books are piled haphazardly by the rats’ food, and both of these seem to sit quite peaceably with my Buddha statue. I will restore order in my mind when I organize and put these things away in their right places. But, just as they are, they are evidence of grace.
Before you clear the clutter, stop and take it in. Dear hearts, you do not need to search the holy texts or sit in deep meditation for hours to uncover the miracle. Those activities are wonderful and it is uplifting to clean and order your personal space, but the next time you go to pick up the sponge or dish towel… pause.
And breath, and look, and witness. Ah, look how Love has manifested! Toys left discarded in the hallway are brilliant, poignant, joyful grace! The fallen branches from the rains are cracks the light is shining through! All this untidiness is left by life and love!
Can you see?