Saturday, January 06, 2007

Other Arrangements

I do most of my writing in the loft of our house. We have one of those open floor plans with a vaulted ceiling, and an open staircase. There are Palladian windows to the front of the house but my desk sits on the upper level directly in front of an east window. From here, I can look out over the woods. On a winter’s day like this one, I have a view of the fields beyond the woods and the neighboring farmland and buildings. At night, I catch a glimpse of the lighted steeple of the church where I worship.

The condition of my loft suggests to me the condition of my soul. The overall impression is chaos. Last summer the loft became more and more cluttered as I spent time in the garden and preserving food. It was a season of life that didn’t lend itself to reading and writing. The papers, books, notebooks, file folders and odd debris piled up on the floor, tables, desk and even on the chairs in my writing space.

“I should clean up this mess,” I said to myself more than once. And then one time I heard a still small voice say, “I’m here with you. Sit in this mess and listen to Me for once.”

“Huh?” I asked. “You’re okay with this mess?”

“Yup!” The Goddess was grinning at me.

“Okay,” I said. I felt uncomfortable and relieved all at once as I un-piled my meditation chair and sat in it. I sat staring at the mess. Then I closed my eyes. It was hard to sit in that messy room day after day but I disciplined myself to do it. Occasionally I moved a pile from one place to another but I mainly sat there I with my deep breathing, meditation, prayers and holy reading. I said “Yes” to the mess and let it be there.

I got to a place of strange comfort with the messy piles and forgot to judge it most of the time. I watched new books of poetry and inspiration pile up as I returned from conferences and meetings but felt little need to read them. Folders from the latest workshop lay abandoned on top of an unfinished book (I have five!). The closet spilled over and I had to rummage to find instructions for changing the printer cartridge.

But at 55 West & Co. where I work part time, I was learning that I like to arrange things. One day I stacked up a couple dozen small stands into a pleasing, eye-catching display. Next, I tackled the front windows to create an almost storybook tableau. At home, I painted the dining room walls with texture, moved furniture and hung new pictures. I decorated for Christmas and created lovely scenes in our great room. The loft was messier than ever.

In December, a Carolina wren took shelter in the Christmas wreath on our front door. One evening she flew inside and knocked a small object from a shelf in the loft. It hit my computer keyboard and broke the comma key. The next day, I dumped a basket of old magazines and began filling it with odd remainders from my journey--books I no longer wanted, some inspirational bric-a-brac, decorations that don’t inspire me now. I took them to “Gypsy Sue” who will pass them on to people who can use them.

I gathered my overstuffed notebooks onto a shelf and filled a garbage bag with paper and old magazines. I moved some furniture in my loft but stopped short of painting the walls orange. (Orange is the color of creativity; that waits for another time). The desk remains in front of the window.

At work it seems when we move stuff around, it sells. New stuff comes in. Just when I think the place looks great, some furniture sells and other arrangements are required. In the “lofty” place at home, I notice that God is less of a cleaning service than I’d once suspected. The longer I sit here, the more I think getting messy is even part of the whole plan. I might be troubled by a mess but The Holy Homemaker isn’t as bothered as I once imagined. She stretches out her hand and invites me to rest. “Sit here in this mess with me,” She says. “Later—after you and I have spent some quality time together—we’ll make other arrangements. “

Lofty Thoughts


At 5:57 AM, Blogger Laura said...

Mom- I love this! You've inspired my own "messy" reflections. See my blog.


Post a Comment

<< Home