I have always been drawn to IKEA ads and Real Simple magazine shots. It isn't necessarily the modern appliances or style of the cabinetry that draws me in; rather, it's the clean counters. When I say clean counters, I mean a long surface area devoid of any hint of a toaster or pile of science worksheets. There are no rotten bananas in sight, lingering on as the resident baker is sure that he/she will get around to banana bread before the telltale flies show up. There isn't any wood putty, socks or a lone hairbrush sitting out. That clean straight line hints at a life that is being well managed, a good job that pays a cleaning lady to dust the empty counter, a life full of neat and orderly habits of organization.
I took a picture of my counter this morning. Normally, I find that when my counter gets cluttered that I begin to feel frustrated. But today as I sipped my way through the first cup of coffee, I looked at what was really there.
The photo of my kitchen counter can become a lot like a page from a book of "I Spy":
I spy a science worksheet, a battery, a colonial scene with pumpkins, a derby car,
Wood putty, a Lego creation and green marbles that roll far.
Sam's in sixth grade this year and I wonder how much longer I'll hear the waterfall sound of Legos being dumped and sorted on his floor. Once dumped, they need to stay out a few days so that the sorting and hunting isn't in vain. When I tucked him in last night and howled as my foot came down on a pile of Legos, he quickly assured me that he had cleared a path. It was a bit narrow, but yes, a path was there. There is an awareness in my parenting that time is moving more swiftly. How much longer will he let me tuck him in? How much longer will the path be made from cleared Legos?
Emily's art supplies and derby car add to the hodgepodge as well as her lunch bag. She is my sack lunch girl and I like packing her lunch in the mornings. I enjoy the sense of connection to her day when I do that -- even though the contents wouldn't earn a star from the health educators at Sarah Bush.
Brenna's yearbook and string only rest on the counter briefly and can't make the shot. They are too needed to lie on a surface for very long.
A friend said to me today, "We need to see and embrace the beauty around us." Things have felt rather dark lately and my spirit has felt heavy, but her words are true. My counter reminds me that there is beauty around me. In addition to the beauty that exists, we have the honor and challenge to create beauty to add to it all.