As I rolled out of bed this morning, I felt such a relief knowing that God created today to be new. It’s no longer yesterday (thank goodness!). The earth is a bit farther around the sun, and the air I’m breathing is not the same air I breathed the day before. Mercy is new, and every morning we get the chance for a do-over.
Praise the Lord for this. Josh had his weekly coffee date early this morning, so I didn’t see him; but, undoubtedly he woke with a similar refreshment. Yesterday beat the tar out of us. For me, it was supposed to be a day full of unexpected accomplishment and list-checking. I have breaking points when I just go haywire on our house. In the Fall, I walk around the house some random night with a big bin and just start dumping every pair of sandals and flip flops scattered all over the house. I follow this by the dust-buster and an evening of sorting through the shoes that stay and the shoes that are shipped to Goodwill. In the winter, I feel so cooped up and find myself a few times getting so *sick* of the condition of the attic that I bury myself in the mess, coming up to breathe every hour or so until I can at least walk through it. Then I do the same thing to the basement. My closets receive the same brutal treatment, and so does every pile of junk or stack of papers. (Funny how I just got the idea to organize the pile of picture frames that’s cluttering the shelf in my front closet). You’d think because of these manic episodes, our house would be one of order and at least have the appearance of precision. On the contrary. I don’t know how or why, but Josh and I have the ability to be gross and messy. To keep order in our lives takes more effort than it does for some, whether it’s a necessary routine, a checkbook, or a functional sock drawer. We have to re-check our systems every few months, sometimes taking bombs to them and just starting–yet again–from scratch.
And every once in a while, when we’re trimming and pruning our lifestyle, we realize there are deep, ugly roots that are still present. Really deep. Really ugly. All this time, with the meal planning, the cleaning, the disciplining, the working, the prioritizing we’ve done the past several years to make our little life together glorious to God…it all seems to have been harvested in really rocky soil. So rocky, in fact, that we’ve got to pull the roots out, interrupting the seemingly peaceful, put-together existence we’d been maintaining. We got a bit of bad financial news (probably inappropriate to discuss details here) that reminded us of the foolishness behind us, the years where being irresponsible didn’t seem to have that big of a price. It’s difficult to see our progress (much less focus on it!) when we’re shoveling deep to uproot the consequences of old habits.
Last night, we both had important commitments that we canceled to stay home, be together, and work through the pain of realizing we’re not fully grown-ups yet. I was supposed to attend one of my 4-week sessions of Jill Tanis’ Family Food Revolution course, another effort of mine to make of our lives healthier. Josh was supposed to attend the *amazing* Rend Collective Experiment/Francis Chan event at Central Wesleyan Church. We would have both been in our element, searching for soul food and coming up filled up. Instead, we were here, being responsible and sifting through paperwork while making a plan for betterment.
But before Josh got home from work and we collapsed together into this mess…I needed another project to let out my shoe-collecting, attic-combusting desire for control. In the Spring, our yard becomes my target as I see how both winter and negligence have left the outside of our home shabby. Our to-do list for the Spring this year includes power washing, building, sanding, painting, and tilling. I hope we get around to the big projects eventually, especially before Second Son makes his appearance in August. In the mean time, the only thing I felt I could do with the only help from my three-year-old is get out the rake, the weed spray, and two small shovels, one for each of us, to attack the should-be-covered-in-tulips curbside that had overgrown–sans tulips–with weeds. (Our next door neighbors also missed the annual tulip plant this year. Our curbs looked like sick little gardens while our larger neighborhood had strong stems and vibrant-colored tulips blossoming. No fair.)
I got the sense of accomplishment I needed at the curb, especially watching my son use a shovel and get his hands into the little plot of earth God has given us. But, of course, I didn’t stop there. I raked other piles of leaves and sticks around the house, made my circles around the yard with the weed spray. (All the while ignoring my pregnancy-induced back pain). We dug, pulled, uprooted, and sprayed for several hours so I could step back and say, “Even if our life isn’t perfect, at least my house looks less abandoned than it did this afternoon.” It does feel good to have gotten something done, but fixing one problem certainly doesn’t make the others go away. And oftentimes I cycle myself through overcompensation and I’m left with a hollow, shelled version of myself at the end of the day.
The truth is, Josh and I are proud of ourselves and we should be. We’re ashamed of ourselves and we should be. It’s so simple, so deeply theological, and yet so obvious: everyday we should be thankful for the new. Every single day we leave behind the darkness of our yesterdays and have the opportunity to embrace the grace offered every morning. And regardless of how ugly yesterday felt to us, we’re okay and we have the blessed gift of waking up to a do-over.