Savoring the messiness of life


I think I upset the balance of nature yesterday. Spring cleaning was way past due and I have company coming this weekend, so I called in a cleaning service and we turned the house upside down.

My white sofas were shampooed and carried to the front porch to dry.  I swept up dust bunnies the size of a large rabbits and threw out several years worth of magazines.  No room was left untouched.

Right in the middle of it all, I was notified of the death of a friend.  Suddenly, I wanted everything back in his messy state.  I wanted it to return to Sunday when I was still a megaslob,  and everyone was going about their business as usual.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way and here we are planning a funeral instead.

What makes this situation so frustrating is that our friend wasn’t sick.  In fact he had just lost weight and was in great shape.

All this got me thinking about my on-going battle for order and cleanliness.  Does it really matter that there are dirty dishes in the sink?  I never got around to the refrigerator which I was planning to scour.

I recalled that Alexander Fleming, the genius who discovered penicillin, found that a little filth could be quite productive.  The story goes that his laboratory was a pigsty.  In 1928, he left for vacation and abandoned some cultures in their petri dishes  When he returned, he found that mold had grown in one of them; observing the fuzzy growth, where bacteria seemed unable to flourish, led to his lifesaving breakthrough.

So now I have a squeaky clean white sofa again, but Lucky can still gobble up a bowl of M & Ms and upchuck on it without a moment’s notice.  We can eat right and exercise, and still arrive at the end of our lives without warning.

I don’t mean to be morose, but for sure I will not be obsessing over a little disorder in my life today.  I’ll take more time to enjoy my friends and family and be grateful for each experience as it presents itself. I’ll forgive myself when I fall short of my own standards, and spend all that clean-up time being more loving and helpful – at least for today, I can’t be sure about tomorrow.

6 thoughts on “Savoring the messiness of life

  1. I am sure your friend would be happy you were doing something for yourself. We’re never promised a tomorrow. I know you r friend appreciated your wisdom and humor as much we do. Thanks for sharing your take on life. Be Blessed….

  2. I lost a dear close friend last month. She just passed away in her sleep. No warning at all. It really hit home hard and now I try to think before I speak and listen to everythings the kids say instead of tuning them out which I am a pro at. It does make you realize we have right now but tomorrow may be gone. I know your friend was blessed to have you.

  3. Lord, Emily, I thought I was the only person left who still used the word “upchuck”….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *