I have a bit of an obsession with keeping my house clean. Only you probably wouldn’t notice, given that on most days, my living room looks like Dorothy’s tornado dropped the entire contents of a:
- toy store
- nature center
- home improvement store
I’m not kidding.
The truth is, I really do try to keep things neat and orderly. But I will concede that my preoccupation with the whole process can make me a bit crazy.
Okay, I admit it.
It makes me a lot crazy.
Exhibit A: the broken kitchen trashcan. It used to open when I stepped on a pedal at the bottom. It doesn’t do that anymore.
Because one afternoon I had a giant temper tantrum over the state of my house. The trash can was in the way of my efforts to conquer and subdue, so I did what any sane woman would:
I threw it out the back door and broke it.
Now some would argue I could probably use a short course on something — detachment, definitely; anger management, perhaps? But I find the most common secular refrain to be one of mindfulness: a call to being in the present moment and at one with my feelings, my surroundings, or my physical state.
Mindfulness, they say, would keep me from these explosive meltdowns. It would keep me from fixating on order in an unnatural way. It would lead me to find peace in the moment, in my breath, in my immediate surroundings.
It would make everything more manageable. More palatable. More … I don’t know … fine?
Small Things, Great (Intentional) Love
Mindfulness may be trendy, but I prefer intentionality. Where mindfulness hearkens back to Eastern or new-age philosophy, intentionally speaks to something much more.
If I am intentional in my deeds and my words, I am focused on my purpose:
- Am I keeping my house clean out of pride? Or am I keeping it clean out of a desire to provide an ordered space for my family?
- Am I exercising in an endless battle to lose vanity pounds? Or do I work out to keep my heart healthy for my children?
- Am I teaching my children at home because I’m convinced the schools are worthless? Or am I homeschooling because I love being with my children, and it’s where God has led me right now?
Being mindful keeps the attention on me. Being intentional, on the other hand, provides a Christ-focused cross-check:
- It ensures I do what I do out of love, not out of disorder.
- It brings me closer to Mary, the Blessed Mother, whose every action stemmed from the love of her son.
- It encourages me to meditate on the holiness of everyday life, not the significance of a single moment.
Being intentional keeps my focus on the small things I do with great love.
So yes, I broke my trash can. And yes, I still get upset when that crazy tornado touches down. But at least I’m a work in progress whose eyes remain fixed on the purpose — the reason — for the small ways in which I serve my family.
I’ll take that over a mom tantrum any day.
Copyright 2020 Ginny Kochis