The sink overflows with dishes. Pans and bowls lay scattered across the kitchen. The counters are covered with smudges of who-knows-what. Years ago, this would have sent me into an immediate cleaning frenzy. But tonight I turn off the light and let it go. I step into the warm summer night for a walk with my husband. I read a book on the couch for a few moments. I talk to someone I love on the phone.
When I come back the next morning, the mess is still there. But those moments that really mattered would have been gone forever.
And it turns out my worst fears weren’t realized: the health department failed to show up, a reporter neglected to take photos through my windows, and no one came for my children.
As I stared at my slightly scandalous kitchen and thought about this I noticed a saying on a sign in the house, “Live fully. Love deeply. Laugh loudly.” And I nodded in agreement at those words.
I’m a person who wants order. I need simplicity and organization. I believe in keeping the dust bunnies somewhat at bay. But there are times when it matters more to make dinner for your friend who just had a baby and leave the dishes on the counter, actually answer the phone, and watch the fireflies come out with someone you love.
Because the dishes will stay but life goes by and you can never get a single day back.
So every once in awhile, just turn off the light and ignore what needs to be done. And when you come back to it, let it remind you of what’s most important in your life.
Because sometimes a mess just means we’re busy with what really matters.