Mid-day, Merritt (our deceased son's wife) arrives with her sweeties - older son Elijah and her five and a half year old twins Say and Jay. (They saw The "Paul and Amy Burglets" yesterday.)
Also mid-day, daughter Mary Beth - who had surgery two weeks ago and is revving up for further treatment - arrives with husband Mike, and wonderful children Ian, and Katie. And my sister Linda will be with us too.
Yesterday, after I made Sloppy Sloppy Joes in my crock-pot and a 13x9x2 pan of Ghiradelli brownies, my husband and I divided up the cleaning.
Among other jobs, Paul gently suggested that he clean the toilets and sinks because, he said, "when you use Lysol wipes, you don't dry afterwards with a cloth, so things tend to dry streaky." Since I have never noticed this and it obviously bothers him, I said "Sure."
Then as I began to vacuum the living room, study, and back bedroom rugs, we differed about which outlet was the most efficient to use for the vacuum plug. We discovered that we vacuum these three rooms in a different order. Who knew??!! So we agreed to make a policy. Whoever does this job gets to use his/her Outlet Of Choice.
Ellen has had so much fun decorating her apartment, surprising herself with all these ideas for her own home that she never knew she had until she had this chance to shine! Having that first home as an independent adult is such a joy - but two in a house is vastly more complicated.
Two in a house should mean that two work together - and the house is stronger for it. When Paul and I look at our house's exterior, I'm bothered most by the paint worn off in front and the tacky deck ( all will be painted this Summer.) Paul notices and frets about gutters (replaced last Fall) and a roof nearing old age (still on a back burner.)
It takes humility for two people to share the tasks of owning a house, and keeping it in good order. Usually both have different insights, different ideas, different areas of expertise. You have to be able to listen to each other and see things from the other person's point of view. You have to brainstorm and sometimes argue (always politely of course!) until the clearest, best path appears.
It's taken me a long time to be able to relax when company drops in unexpectedly and my house is messy by my standards. It's taken me a long time to realize that the company is more important than the house! That the interior virtue of loving people trumps a house's exterior perfection.
We can't expend ALL our energy on the exterior house we live in here. We also have to build the interior house of virtue where we'll live for eternity. Most important is developing humility.
Humility is listening to others who might see your faults, your weaknesses, more clearly than you do. Who encourage you - tell you that unless your foundation is faith, your house will crumble. That love has to be the door that others enter by and hope is the furnace necessary to keep you warm and safe in the worst storms. That you have to clear up that daily clutter of anxieties and fears. That you need joy to polish and shine!
God is our best Counselor. Talking to Him daily, honestly and humbly, gives Him a chance to give us the insights and advice we need to build and house-clean our own interior castle, our own soul!