Let Life Be Messy

Yesterday was the first day of Fall. So today, naturally, I was itching to make my favorite butternut squash soup (as usual, shoutout to Pinterest: http://cincyshopper.com/copycat-panera-autumn-squash-soup-recipe/ ). You’re welcome.

“Yes!” I thought. “A good playlist, a glass of wine, and a good, long, therapeutic cooking session. It’ll be marvelous.”

This idea lasted about two seconds.

“Help please Mommy!”

Water. Puddles and puddles of water all over the kitchen floor. Lucy had been playing at the kitchen sink for the last hour “doing dishes” {I’ll let you use your imagination here.}

At this point, my therapy session was long gone. Who was I to think that the pre-child days of cooking in peace at my own leisure and pace were something to behold still today?

But as I reached for a dish towel to address my soaking wet feet and my child’s soaking wet, well, entire body, I stopped.

We were already (literally) ankle deep in water. Why stop now? Whoever said your kitchen has to be dry or clean, or have any sort of sanity for that matter, for it to be a sacred, restorative, life-giving space?

“You’re good, girl!” I said to Lucy. “It’s just water. Keep playing!”

And that’s exactly what she did. And that’s exactly what I did too.

I grabbed my cutting board, my recipe, and my music and I joined Lucy in the kitchen.

I am so quick to avoid inconvenience at any cost. If I could avoid messes in life, if I could avoid the chaos, the unpredictability, the really really hard parts, life would be easier. Life would be simple. Life would be better. The more I am able to control and anticipate, the less stress it will bring.. or so I’ve convinced myself somewhere along this journey of adulthood.

The irony? I am subconsciously so stressed all of the time. I am constantly thinking of everything I could possibly avoid in every situation and outing and trip to the grocery store and all of the ways I could prevent difficult situations from happening.

But here’s the thing: Life is hard. And that’s a fact, my friend. So the more present we are in this moment, the more we choose connection over efficiency and convenience, the more we learn to embrace those hard and gnarly {and massive} puddles of water that completely cover the       e n t i r e kitchen floor, the more we will experience joy. Real, beautiful, genuine joy. And what I want Lucy to remember and learn is that every moment we are graced with in life is significant. Every moment is holy. And what makes that true is not the task or project or pastime at hand, but the fact that life and the people we share it with are gifts.

The time we have in life is a gift. Everything God has filled this good earth with is a gift that he has given us to steward with love and gratitude. And I think that stewarding the time I had with Lucy in the kitchen this evening looked more like being with her in the puddles and soaking wet countertops than showing her how to properly clean up a mess and keep a tidy kitchen {Although, if you know me, you know that order is my love language; do not hear me saying there is not a time and place to teach that, too. Tonight was just not that time.}

I’m telling you – today was by far the messiest and most “inconvenient” experience I’ve had in the kitchen. Like ever. At one point, I turned around and Lucy had (unbeknownst to me) decided to turn the faucet so that the water was running onto the counter.. for who knows how long. I’m talking, water covering the entirety of the counter and seeping underneath everything I was cooking with. Not good.

But it was by far the best.

I looked at her. She smirked at me.

I couldn’t bring myself to be mad. She was having the time of her life and so was I. I fixed the faucet, grabbed a big beach towel, and literally shoved it under all my cooking stuff and we both kept doing our things.

 

We must remember to slow down and remember that our only agenda in life is to be grateful for this moment: right here, right now. And to see every one of those moments as an opportunity to either choose presence or discontentment. Good or ugly, chaos or bliss. And embrace it all. Because it’s when we get caught up with “everything else” that we miss the moments right here, right now that we will never get back.

Time is a gift. 

We must remember to soak these moments in as they come, even if that means letting things be a little extra messy.

 

             

{I wasn’t kidding about the beach towel. Water. E v e r y w h e r e.}

 

Be present. Be here. Right now.

We danced and sang our favorite songs together. She proceeded to “wash dishes,” cups of water spilling on the floor here and there, while I chopped my veggies, drank my wine, and danced to my music with wet feet.

We were together.

And it was glorious. The cleanup was too, but oh, was this memory worth the mess. Here’s a little secret, though: memories usually are.

Oh, and we made some stinking delicious soup, too.

 

 

Alex Hanson

Wife to Nate, mommy to Lucy.

 

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