I came across this idea while reading A Rumour of God: Rekindling Belief in an Age of Disenchantment, by Robert C. Sibley, a book I will review next week. When I first read the passage, I have to confess, my first reaction was horror. If my house represents me, then I have a lot of clutter to clean up and too many half-finished projects. I have weeds to pull and a layer of dust to deal with.
My second reaction was horror that my first reaction was horror. If my house represents my self, then I was horrified about myself. That’s a matter of concern.
I realized that I had fallen into the trap of noticing only the negative things about my house/self. I took some time to look for the positives? My front hall is cluttered, yes, but with tennis racquets, baseball gear, rugby cleats or skis, depending on the season. It is easy for any visitor to our home to see that we are an active, sporty family. I like that. I have a lot of half-finished projects, yes, but they are things I work at between volunteer activities and trips to my kids’ activities. It is easy for anyone to see that I make family and community a priority. My gardens have some weeds, and my tables have some dust, yes, but this would only be noticeable to a critical eye, otherwise my home is well cared for and attractive. It is easy for any visitor to our home to see that I’m not stuck in perfectionism, and I take time out for reading, writing and relaxing.
When I was a child, I used to play at my neighbour’s house quite often. She had a sign up above her kitchen door. It read, “My house is clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy.”