Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Right Way to Fill a Crayon Box: A Lesson in Balance

This past week I spent 3 days (in between feeding a baby and refereeing squabbles) emptying the big kids rooms, throwing out a lot, passing on clothing that's too small and just reorganizing EVERYTHING.  It was so long overdue mostly because we were in emergency everything is changing mode for the past 6 months at least and attention to detail - especially as it pertains to cleaning and household management - is NOT a strength of mine.  Our life has been chaotic so that is a verifiable excuse, but at the same time it took a lot of mental energy and gumption to truly go through their rooms.  Still, I did it and for good reason.  These crazies need to know how to find their clothes and not be pig pens everywhere they go! Plus, an orderly space does bring a certain peace to your life, doesn't it? I hate the stigma that I feel (which is probably largely built up in my head alone) that since housework and perfect orderliness isn't my top priority, I'm judged and looked down upon.  Still, I can't deny that there is more to life than perfect order, especially when obtaining that perfect order gets in the way of really important things.

This afternoon after worship services, Miss Z was supposed to be putting away her crayons in their original Crayola 24 pack box.  At first she tried to just shove them in a larger bag, but I directed her to the box.  She tried, but a meltdown seemed unavoidable.  She can get herself worked up pretty easy, but for the life of me, I didn't get why it was causing her such grief.  Finally she said, "I just can't do it.  They will never go right!!"  Then I realized what she was trying to do.  She was trying to put them in exactly as they should go and keep them from sliding in any way. From my extensive experience with coloring, I knew that if you just started shoving the crayons in, they would eventually all adjust to one another, fitting perfectly.  After I told her it didn't matter and to just shove them in, she just seemed to relax and then started laughing at it all.  The task of perfection was so overwhelming that the purpose had been lost.  We were just trying to keep track of all the crayons and not leave a mess.  The method by which they entered the box was just not important.

Balance, again, struck me as the ultimate friend.  Order is so helpful in the longevity of things and in our daily functions, but it can be a life waster if that's all we live for.  Less than perfect demonstrates grace and mercy, but when taken to the extreme leaves you with failure and chaos all around you.  Wherever you are at on this beautiful spectrum, scoot a little closer to the middle. 
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