I am a firm believe that God gives us signs that help guide us through life. We have the choice to listen to him, or ignore him and carry on in our own way. It is not often that Greg and I both see the same signs pointing us in the same direction at the same time.
I felt an overwhelming sense of content in Tennessee. It has been a long time since the 4 of us had quality time together away from the responsibilities that come with our “normal” weekend. Our normal weekend includes a yoga class, food shopping at three different stores, a run to the dry cleaner, religious education, church, family dinner and cleaning the house. I am certainly not complaining, but our lives seem to be so rushed that time together is a luxury we just don’t have right now.
In Chattanooga we met a shopkeeper who owned a book store / yarn store / odds and ends store. We had an interesting discussion about religion, she being a southern Baptist and we being Roman Catholics from the Northeast.....she told us many stories about her family but closed with one about her brother in law. As she told it, he is afraid to die because he is “going to hell” (her words...not mine!). Why? Because he “worships money”. Hmmmm....... This came right after we saw Mary Poppins. The stage performance contains a sub-plot about the father’s journey to the realization that his family needs him as much as his job needs him. When he realizes that decisions made from the heart usually lead to joy at home as well as in the workplace, he finds a degree of personal fulfillment he never experienced before.
Are we worshipping money? No. We don’t. We don’t own a large house. We don’t drive fancy cars or take elaborate vacations. But we do realize that with Greg’s position comes 70+ hour work weeks, travel, and occasionally work on the weekends. His job allows me to stay home with the girls. However, this trip made us realize there are things we can do to help find a balance so that when he is home we are focused more on our family.
We have begun to really pull our house together in a way that makes a meaningful difference for the quality of our lives at home. This weekend Greg and I worked together to begin a serious spring deep cleaning. We got rid of unnecessary furniture. We put a free sign on a coffee table that has been moved from room to room, never finding its place, and within an hour someone took it. We Goodwilled 6 Trader Joe’s bags filled with books and clothes. We threw out things which were broken and used up in a way they could not be repurposed or given away. We decluttered bookshelves, found a home for my camera and camera bags that always seem to be underfoot and opened up our three season porch.
That was just the first of many projects we will be doing in the next few weeks. It was fun to work together while the girls enjoyed time at the park playing tennis with their friend.
I know I felt lighter in Tennessee because my in law's house is open, airy, well lit, and uncluttered. Granted, they do not have children living in the house and they do not homeschool! I know if I can open my house up, let light in, keep only what I love and use, and seriously reduce our household inventory, I will feel lighter and freer to enjoy the time we have at home together.