Love in the Time of Clutter

Last week, my wife and son got on a plane and headed down to Houston to see Lauren’s family. Kyler grows fast, so the grandparents use whatever excuse they can to see them. Needless to say, with them gone for a few days, I was in the rare situation of having the house to myself for a few days.

I remember when I was in college and I needed to move, I would just pack my stuff in the back of my car and go. Most of the big things I owned was music gear, so apart from that, there wasn’t much that I had. Overall, I’m not a neat freak, as anyone who has ever lived with me can attest to, but I’m also not a pack rat. If I didn’t use it regularly, I would either give it away or throw it away.

When I got married, I quickly realized that my days of moving my things in one car and in one car trip were over. When Lauren and I got married, a lot of stuff came with it. Now with a baby, it’s hard to find any closet space that is not filled with toys, clothes, cleaning supplies, or any other number of things that we have accumulated over the years.

My wife does an incredible job of making our house look beautiful, so don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that we are going to be on next week’s episode of Hoarders. All I’m saying is that going from being single to being married to having a baby has increased the potential for clutter, regardless of how creative my wife might be with organizing it.

Last week when I came home, the house felt so empty. This was partly because there wasn’t a cute, smiling 8 month old rolling around or my beautiful wife waiting for me. But there was more. I didn’t come home to a living room covered with Kyler’s blocks. I didn’t come home to a few pair of shoes laid out in our bedroom that Lauren was testing out for an outfit she was wearing. I didn’t come home to baby food being made, or clothes being washed, or DIY projects being executed. The clutter that naturally happens when multiple people share one house and life together just wasn’t there.

Surprisingly, I immediately began to miss the clutter. I missed having to do a dance across the floor to avoid Kyler’s toys that he’s playing with. I missed the sound of the washing machine constantly going in the background. I missed the dishes that we were always washing from meals that we were eating together. I missed the craft projects on the dining room table and the shoe options in our closet. I missed the clutter.

To love someone is to invite their clutter into your life. Not just material clutter. When people get married they not only marry into each other’s stuff, they also marry into the other persons fears, strengths, doubts, debts, convictions, and beliefs. It’s not always clean. It would be easy to try and push back, to insulate ourselves from each other so we don’t have to let our lives be overrun by their clutter. But that just isn’t the way love works. I missed the clutter in my home because I love the people who clutter it.

When God made the world, it was perfect and beautiful. Everything was in its proper place. But then we sinned and clutter entered his perfectly organized plan. It would have been so easy for him to just leave us where we were, cut ties, and create another perfectly organized creation. But instead he entered into the clutter of the world and invited our mess into his own life. He did this because he loved those people who were cluttering his world.

Now that Lauren and Kyler are back, the house has returned to its normal organized chaos. I love it because it reminds me that my life is filled with people I love and people who love me as well.

The uncluttered life is often times a life without real loving relationships, and that’s not the example of Christ.

Lord Jesus, thank you for entering our mess. Please give us the courage to enter into each other’s!

3 thoughts on “Love in the Time of Clutter

  1. Nice writing Cody. Few years back a few of the self help communities were telling everyone they should set boundaries between them and others an attempt to protect ourselves from the “Clutter of others”, Certainly there are times like a wife or child of an addict when that is sound advise, But if I want to model Christ I must not only accept the clutter and crap of others lives i must sit down in it.

  2. Love this post. You’ll have lots more future opportunities to love Kyler’s clutter when he accumulates a skateboard, a set of drums a guitar and amp and sports some size 12 Vans. Enjoy because way too soon all that stuff is gone and you’d give anything to trip over a pair of his shoes.

  3. great reminder Cody! with three little ones at home right now, sometimes all I see is the clutter/mess and not the blessing of the relationships in it all. so glad Jesus sits in the clutter of my life in order to have relationship with me… 😉

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