Recently we were driving down the road when we saw a zippy little car next to us.  It was a car for a housecleaning service and it had the motto printed all over the car…  “Because you have better things to do.”

Really this post is the culmination of a lot of irritants and realizations in my life.  Because we have better things to do with our time… Hmmm…

We, as a people, have so much STUFF.  We have stuff so we buy stuff to organize our stuff.  We “outgrow” our homes because we have more stuff than we have space.  Listen to me now:  Stuff, all stuff, takes maintenance.  That isn’t necessarily bad.  Some stuff is WORTH maintaining.  And I don’t mean cost effective.  I mean that it has value (remarkably different than cost) in our lives to such a point that it is worth the time & effort to maintain it.  If it has no value or worth to your daily life WHY ARE YOU WASTING TIME & ENERGY MAINTAINING IT?

Seriously.

Let me provide you with a few examples.  If you have more than one set of sheets for each bed, or if you are insane, like most of my immediate family and require 3-5 sets of sheets per bed, this is crazy.  Take them off, wash them, put them on.  This whole maintenance thing of take off the sheets, go through the laundry closet, get out the new set, do the laundry, fold up the other set, organize them in the closet is NUTS!  Wash ’em, put them back on the bed.

We have recently had the remarkable experience of moving from a glorified 2 bedroom home to a much larger home.  The old farmhouse we were in had one bathroom, one bathtub, one toilet, and two upstairs bedrooms.  Okay, one bedroom upstairs and a moderately sized, square hall a.k.a the boys’ room.  We had a little office off the living room for our room.  When I say little I mean little… We had a bed, an upright dresser, and enough room to walk around the end of the bed if we walked sideways.   Frankly, I thought it was cozy.  Honestly?  I really liked it.  Because the bedrooms were small we weren’t tempted to “store” things in them i.e., use them as storage facilities to maintain things of no value.  There was only one bathroom.  Sure, that meant sometimes you waited in line.  It also meant there was ONE bathroom to clean.  We are currently renting a home that has three bathrooms.  I would NOT have been so excited if someone had explained to me I was going to need to clean all three of them.

I am *not* complaining.  I like this house.  Maybe not the house exactly, but certainly the acreage and the space and the trees.  I love the neighbors and the community.  But, I’m telling you folks, we have not set up our LIVES to accomplish our goals.

The old farmhouse was built quite a while ago.  It had a very small living room and a huge eat in kitchen.  It was a “cooking” kitchen – meant to prepare meals in with everyone lending a hand.   This current, modern kitchen is cute.  It’s definitely large and bright and I like that.   But it’s certainly set up more for entertaining with separate areas off of the kitchen.   It’s not meant for family togetherness.  There is so much space that everyone spreads out, goes their own way.

We re-evaluated a couple of things this weekend, rearranged some areas.  Our television has made its’ way up to our bedroom.  And as I rearranged the family room I realized we had set up the entire room to focus around the television.  For a family that insisted we continuously TRY to cut down “screen” time, we had certainly set ourselves up for failure.  What do you want to do?  Oh, I don’t know…  And the television beckons from EVERY angle of the room.  Interesting.

Time.  None of us ever has enough, do we?  We spend time maintaining things that have no value.  It could be actual things… It could be doing laundry when we could simply cut down on our clothes.  It amazes me how I complain about not having enough time, but yet I don’t want to do anything difficult or uncomfortable like give up internet or things of that nature.

Earlier this week a friend sent me a letter.  I didn’t find the TIME to write her back.
Last month Abigail took a scissors to my comforter.  I couldn’t find the TIME to repair it.
Elizabeth has given me two shirts and a skirt to repair – I hadn’t found the TIME to sew them.
The garden has run to weeds…  I haven’t made the TIME to keep it up.

Look at those four things.  They’re relatively important.  And yet they’ve shifted down my list of priorities below “entertainment” certainly as blogging, Facebook, and screen time has misplaced them.   I can’t say I spend a crazy amount of time on the internet, but certainly more than absolutely necessary.

Recently I gave up the internet for a short while.  We had it put on vacation… It was a bet with my sister, I lost.  During that period, I became acutely aware how dependent I am on immediate gratification.  And how impatient it makes me.

Letter writing?  No time – send an email.   Can’t keep a garden – not enough time?  Pick up veggies at the market.  Stitching a shirt?  Bah, she has more in the closet.    Ripped comforter?  No time!

Tonight I sat and stitched the two shirts, the skirt, and the comforter by hand.  It took a good deal of time, about two hours.   For two hours I was still, moved slowly, was quiet, and just concentrated on my task at hand.  There was much peace and a good deal of satisfaction to be gained from that.  The same is true with a letter written to a friend or a loved one, vegetables grown by your own hand, a new skirt given to a daughter, or something gifted made by hand.   These things take time.  They develop patience, sweetness, perseverance.

How we complain that the world moves too quickly, that there are not enough hours in the day, that children grow up too quickly….  And yet we constantly set ourselves up for failure.  *WE* are the ones tearing down our own homes, brick by brick, rather than building them up.

I humbly pray that we not live our lives in THEORY, sitting idly by the internet as real life takes place around us, without us truly PRESENT.

Go.  Be PRESENT.   Interact.  Do not numb yourselves with a screen or a book today.  Do hard things.  Do things that take TIME.  Be still.   And be grateful.

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