Unfinished Business

window-sheers

I’m an early bird.

Most mornings I awaken early enough to sit in my favorite chair with a cup of coffee and spend a quiet hour reading, praying, meditating, and writing. Oh, how I treasure those quiet moments. As the sun comes up, the light filters through the sheer curtains in the living room and casts shadows through the trees.

It’s so peaceful and pretty, and sometimes I sit in gratitude and feel so thankful.

Ah, but sometimes my gaze follows the light to the rug that needs to be vacuumed and cleaned. I notice that the ten-year-old lampshades are starting to look shabby and really need to be replaced. A film of dust covers the side table. The dogs have slobbered again all over the front window, which I just cleaned last week.

The dogs…oh, how I appreciate the way they show us so much love and make us laugh.

But when I’m tired, sometimes I feel less grateful for their shedding, and their questionable manners with guests, and toenails that grow like bamboo, and muddy footprints.

Sometimes I return to our precious home, and I see a driveway full of cracks. I appreciate the blessing of this house one day, and the next I’m stressed about gutters that need to be cleaned, and the bindweed coming up again, and the flickers drilling in the siding.

Is it possible to experience content in the midst of chaos?

I’m trying to.

Right here, right now.

Because the thing is, our tasks will never be all done.

In a Perfect World…

Imagine that our homes are completely clean, from top to bottom. From the icemaker to the rechargeable electric drill, everything works as it should. Every surface is freshly painted, level and meticulously detailed. Closets, refrigerators, basements and garages are all precisely organized.

Our pets are well mannered and tidy.  They have toenails like geishas, and tread softly on our polished reclaimed wood floors. Not one single hair rests on any surface in our homes.

We are completely caught up with our work. Our computer files are tidy and our email inboxes are empty. Our managers and clients are 100% satisfied. Our offices and desks are spotless. (Excuse me for one moment while I stifle my laughter.)

Our yards and organic gardens are immaculate, with not even one tiny unwanted weed. No pests nibble our produce. The flower beds are lush and filled with color-coordinated annuals, native plants and perennials, that bloom in rotation throughout the season. Even our tool sheds are organized.

These impossible ideals sound silly, don’t they?

But can I make a confession?

I still struggle at times with the bad habit of looking at a room or a garden, or sometimes even a dog, and seeing what needs to be done.

I don’t want to postpone feeling deeply satisfied until I catch up on all the things I need to do.

I don’t want a mindset that says true contentedness is always around the next corner.

Happiness vs. my To Do List

These have been my recent prayers and meditations:

Thank you for good work and chores and responsibilities.

Help me see and be grateful for the abundance all around me.

Let me be content—in the midst of all that is unfinished in my life.

Hugs,

The signature for Eliza Cross

 

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

2 comments to Unfinished Business

  • “Let me be content—in the midst of all that is unfinished in my life.” Can you just tattoo that on my forehead please? Actually, I think that the word “unfinished” is very powerful here. I tend to think of it in terms of being “behind” or “inadequate” – and it leaves me in a constant state of feeling like life is reeling out of control. Perhaps I just need to reframe it all as a work in progress and stop acting like the to do list is a sign of failure on my part.

    • You do that, too? Lately I’ve been noticing how critical I am of myself for being behind on everything…which is, perhaps, how many of us feel every day. I LOVE your phrase “work in progress.” Since we’re all in various stages of progress, perhaps we can accept that as a perpetual state and cut ourselves some slack. Here’s to more slack and less stress! Thanks for your thoughtful perspective, which I always enjoy. xoxo

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