Samantha Stephenson remembers the real reason behind our longing for organization.
The last time I was pregnant, I organized all of our dry goods into mason jars. The clear glass is less shiny now that I have to buy all of our dry goods at the bulk store.
With our second child, I decided that Montessori was the way to go. Out went all the toys with blinking lights. Open-ended, wooden playthings for us, please! Now that we have three, I’m grateful for any moment the older kids are entertained, no matter how many batteries it takes.
I Marie Kondoed our home, thinking it would bring me peace to get rid of all our clutter. I still fold my laundry differently, but that’s all that stuck. I’ve been to the bookstore three times in search of volumes I’ve given away.
I am always searching for a system. I will buy into and execute any organizational strategy that promises to make our chaotic lives run more smoothly. I will overhaul our decor, buy new furniture, and make dozens of trips to Goodwill if I think it means quieting the restlessness in my soul.
Except those Pinterest-worthy promises never bring the satisfaction that I’m looking for. Why do I forget, again and again, that this longing I feel doesn’t have a solution in the here and now. “I can’t get no satisfaction,” as the song goes. But then, I am not made for satisfaction.
I am made for love. I am made for the hereafter.
“The world's thy ship and not thy home,” as St. Thérèse reminds us.
It’s so easy to slip back into a now-centered perspective, to lose sight of the eternal. I make the mistake of trying to fulfill my longings for perfection with fruitless attempts to impose it on my domestic kingdom. Perfection, of course, belongs to a different Kingdom.
Slowly, I am learning to befriend my longing. This internal emptiness, this existential hunger, is an anticipation of the banquet that awaits us. Rather than lose patience with myself for yet another futile attempt to wrest the world entirely under my own control, I can choose to laugh at myself. To simply recognize that yes, I have done it again, and to ask Jesus to laugh with me.
Copyright 2020 Samantha Stephenson
Image: Pexels (2017)
About the Author
Samantha Stephenson is a Catholic mom of 3, writer, and host of Brave New Us, a podcast exploring bioethics in the light of faith. She is also the founder of Spoken Women, a community for Catholic women to nourish their creative callings. Connect with her or sign up for her "Mama Prays" newsletter at SNStephenson.com.