Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Comfortable in Chaos

What can I say? Stephen thinks its funny with one sister who vacuums her house twice a day, another sister who breaks her bed rest in order to sweep her kitchen floor every night, and a brother who is considering starting a cleaning business that I should be a part of such a family. It not that my mother didn't teach me how to be clean and organized, or that I never like my home clean. It's simply that for a genius such as myself, life is to boring to be organized all the time. There's something romantic about a chaotic home that is missing in those pristine interior design magazines. If I wanted to be surrounded with silence that comes from a void of human life, I could find my way to outerspace, but personally I like humans just fine and don't mind being reminded that I live with them and am one.
My absolute favorite office to visit was that of Stephen and my C.S. Lewis advisor. Intermingled with his books from the floor the the ceiling were oddly formed student projects from years past and who knows what else. I don't remember a time he didn't have to move something off of his extra chair just to let me sit down. It's amazing how comfortable I felt in an office like that.
Unfortunately with a 10 month old that puts everything in his mouth and a husband who finds my "prayers" to find the car keys somewhat ineffective, I'm feeling the pull towards the ever categorizing, organizing, and thinking through things beckoning me. It is disappointing that we can trust academics to do fine work, perhaps their finest work in such chaos, but me, in my own house, would risk being investigated by the DCFS if my home resembled such a masterpiece.
Growing up I pretended it was part of my artistic nature (now dormant except in the style of organization), but in reality most artists I've come to know on a personal level are actually more OCD than the general population seems to be. I tell Stephen he should be happy I can handle chaos, "all the more children I can handle" I say enthusiastically. "Right?" (I don't tell him that most mothers I've seen with big families are and required to be quite on top of things).
They say cleanliness is next to godliness. I'll admit it now, I'm no where near godliness, so ought I not wait to work on such an attribute? But in reality, I consider myself ahead of the game. Look at most of God's creation: there is order in everything over time, but it is masked in temporal chaos. Perhaps, unbeknownst to everyone around me, that is what I've been doing all along.

Too bad that doesn't help me know where my keys are now.


Mary said...

Very funny Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout. I know you think I'm OCD, but I should warn you that my standard of cleanliness has had to go down a notch with each child I've had. I worry about you if you do have 10. One thing that has helped me is to try to clean up as you go so you aren't stuck at the end of the day feeling tired and having a whole house to clean.

Jared said...

The Missionary Preparation manual states: "Satan's greatest means of discouragement is a dusty, ill-kept room with an unmade bed." But if that isn't motivation enough to be clean, I heard a story in the news the other day that is shocking. There was a woman in Las Vegas who was missing for four months. She was eventually found dead in her own home buried beneath piles of junk. True story. Enough said.

Lori said...

Have you read the poem "Pied Beauty" by Hopkins?

It relates to what you're describing about chaos, beauty, and art.

Ruth said...

I like Mary and Jared's comments. Let the cleaning begin!

Krista said...

You are such a strong writer. I love the idea that "there is order in everything over time, but it is masked in temporal chaos."

I miss our discussions and I REALLY miss you!

Anonymous said...

I want to hear more about these artistic endeavors!! And Neal and I are both with you on the whole lost keys thing...oy.