When you’re at home relaxing, what do you really see? I’ve been thinking about this question all week, after I had something of an epiphany about myself.
I had let our dog Maddie outside, during a quiet work day at my home office.
Impulsively, I followed her out and sat down on the grass under the shade of a maple tree. Ahhhh…
The day was glorious as only a late-summer day in Colorado can be, and after I’d closed my eyes for a minute I opened them to take in the blue skies, lazy clouds, bees buzzing the flowers, and ripe tomatoes ready to be picked.
I would love to write here that I remained truly present, in a Zen way… that I simply appreciated the moment, soaked up the sunshine and fresh air, and experienced the surrounding beauty with a heart full of gratitude.
I experienced those fleeting feelings for a few moments, but then something shifted and my eyes settled on different things.
I began to notice the flaws.
My eyes slid down from those gorgeous blue skies to a hole in the chimney siding that a flicker drilled this spring. No! Add another home repair to our never-ending list.
I saw that the summer sun had caused the paint around the window trim to peel, too.
The side garden has tendrils of bindweed climbing everywhere.
I saw dead tree branches that need to be trimmed, and I noticed that the hinges on the back gate have come loose again. The kids must have knocked over the brick edging I so carefully placed this spring.
Whether I’m inside or outside our home, just about anywhere I look I can see something that needs to be fixed, or a chore that needs to be done. I realize I’ve developed a bad habit of focusing on these flaws and adding the tasks to my mental ‘To Do’ list, a habit which clouds my ability to see our home with grateful eyes.
Yet I am so very, very thankful for our home. In her book A Million Little Ways, Emily Freeman writes of being “addicted to measurable productivity.” How I recognize myself in her wise words.
Being a serial do-er isn’t necessarily bad, of course, but when my Type A tendencies mean that I can’t even sit under a tree for fifteen minutes without critically eyeing all the things that need to be done, something is out of balance. So my prayers and meditations this week have been these:
Let me be truly present.
Let me simply breathe in all that is precious and imperfectly perfect.
Let me always see our home through the eyes of a grateful heart.
Enjoy these lovely late summer days, my friends,