If we want to embrace life, we also have to embrace chaos. -Susan E. Phillips, Breathing Room
Life can feel chaotic. Okay, more than a feeling — life can truly be chaotic and unpredictable.
On Monday, everything might run smoothly – my kids get along. No one loses their homework. Everyone is on the bus on time. I get (most) of my work done at the office, and I leave feeling energized and productive. I make supper and get it on the table at a reasonable hour. Homework gets done. Baths get taken. Bedtime is at an almost reasonable hour for all five of us. It’s a good day. Gold stars all around.
But then — Tuesday. On Tuesday, I feel like need a nap before I’ve left home in the morning, This kids are fighting in the morning, and we have to chase the bus. I can’t find my car keys. I forget my computer bag at home. Even more than a large coffee with an extra shot, what I really need is a do-over.
Some days I feel like I’m organized, brave, and brilliant.
Other days, I feel like a hot mess.
Maybe both are true. But this doesn’t disqualify me from an amazing life.
We can shift our focus and scan for the beauty hidden in amidst the chaos.
Life can be so hard and heart wrenching and messy and amazing all at once. Everything changes when I shift my focus to see the incredible beauty in chaos.
When I pause in the middle of the laundry and dishes to notice my kids laughing together, I am reminded that it’s all worthwhile. I’m raising happy children who are learning how to “do” relationships with kindness, humor, and compassion.
When I run to the grocery store for the third time this week, I pause just a moment to express gratitude that I can buy nutritious food and feed my family.
When my husband and I argue and we feel a little disconnected, I go for a walk and remind myself that conflict deepens our relationship and calls us into vulnerability. That vulnerability helps us to know ourselves and each other better. And we are teaching our children the value of productive conflict.
Though I feel lonely at times and stretched (more than) a little too thin, I can call my sister who reminds me to laugh and that I’m loved.
When I look around my home and it’s not as picked up and Pinterest-worthy as I want it to be, I can still say a little prayer of gratitude for the roof over my head and bless the abundance, rather than curse it (even though I wish those boxes and bags of extraneous who-knows-what would sort and donate themselves.) How can I resent my own abundance and the fact that I have too much stuff when others have so little?
I choose to see the beauty in chaos.
I strive for simplicity in the workplace and at home; I declutter and practice asking for help – all good things. Still, life is messy and uncomfortable at times. I wish it would stick to the plan — my plan. But life and husbands and kids all have their own plans. I can’t control them. I can only control myself and my own reactions to my frustrations and disappointments, as well as to all of the beauty and goodness around me — that too many times I miss in the midst of my own emotional “stuff.”
I do my best to care for myself and to love my family well. Still, people get sick, and we walk through hard good-byes.
Real life is messy.
But tucked in deep, where only those who look really hard can find it, I see the beauty in chaos.
I find that unless I want to opt out of life and miss the joy, the delight, the sunshine on my face and the fresh scent after a summer storm, I must also embrace the chaos.
They are inextricably intertwined.
To having what matters,