Thursday, December 5, 2013

Small House or Small Heart?

I wonder this about myself and about our current space. This is especially on my mind as Christmas approaches and I'm switching out wardrobes to winter wear and in full "stuff-management" mode.

Compared to most of the world, we have a rather large living space. Compared to most Americans, not so much. (Yes, there are many dangers in making comparisons.) I sometimes imagine that I'm living in Laura Ingall's cabin in The Big Woods; a family of five in one cold room with a loft. It makes our rental feel almost palatial.

Some days the noise gets to me and I want everyone to just shhhh. Shhhh. Shhhh. Please shhhhh! Most of the time we are all in one space (living room, dining area and kitchen are all one). There are hours of the day when the bedrooms are off limits for napping boys (when I especially want to shhhh everyone!). It gets pretty loud. And I do think we have had more rainy and wet days this past year than any since we've lived in VA. It makes for a lot of indoor, pent-up energy and play (= things getting broken).

And then I try to talk on the phone. Really! Or read a book aloud to a child. And then someone starts playing piano in L's room and though I love the sound of the music, it is just one more noise.

And the washing machine is sloshing away in the hall closet and boys are wrestling and giggling on the floor (which, of course, sounds like elephants crashing around). And I think there are six different voices all calling for "Mommy" or "Mama" or just "HELP!"

I want to get away and find a quiet place all my own. I retreat to our bedroom (with the pack n-play) -if the baby isn't sleeping and dart into the bathroom- if there isn't anyone already occupied there. I cover my head with my hands and thank the Lord for this craziness. That's as good as it gets. That, or I go to the garage (with the cock roaches!). Only trouble is, if I hide away for a few minutes all KINDS of things can happen.

Do I want to flee because my senses are truly overwhelmed? Or is my perception all wrong? What if I didn't know that having my own quiet space was an option? Would I just get used to this level of noise and chaos?

Maybe the house isn't too small. Maybe my heart is too small. I want quiet for myself and peace for myself (as if peace could be found in the perfect alignment of my furniture and mood). I want to do what I want (talk on the phone, for instance), without being interrupted. I want some time for myself without others needing me or needing something that I could help with. I want to think clearly and have things picked up and have a place for everything and everything in its place because my home is a reflection of me, after all.

It's so silly... because what I'm really saying is that I want a space/house for myself. . . without these beautiful, messy people to make noise and make messes and actually LIVE here with me. It frightens me just a little that I would want to trade this wonderful cacophony for quiet. There will be enough years of quiet. Only the living make noise. My selfishness disgusts me.

Yes, the space feels small. . . but oh, that my heart were larger to appreciate it!

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