A Glimmer of Hope

There’s nothing under my bed.

This may be a strange statement to you, but it is one that has brought me a modicum of comfort this week. When I was young I used to take a running leap to into bed at night because I had fears of what might reach out from the underneath to grab at my leg if I got too close. In reality, all that was under there were piles of toys, dust bunnies, and trash. Periodically, my mom would come in with a broom to sweep everything out into the middle of the floor with the pronouncement,

“Now, put all these toys where they belong and throw away the trash.”

But still, you may wonder what this has to do with my present life. Certainly, I know enough about the real dangers of this world to not spend time worrying about imaginary boogeymen. Well, to help you understand, I need to backtrack a month or two.

In January I announced that I had become involved in trying to clean out and organize with the long-term goal of selling our house and moving into something smaller. To aid in this process, I had become a flybaby – that is I had begun to receive emails from the Flylady giving me a daily list of simple housecleaning tasks. I was feeling empowered by the sense of bringing order to my little world. This approach makes things doable to those of us who are sorely lacking in the homemaking department.

In conjunction with this, I was beginning to have a sense of balance and ease to the flow of things. I began to have the freedom to be involved in teas and showers. April was booked with more outside engagements than I had signed up for in years. I even planned an overnight trip to celebrate my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary.

And then my daughter’s health crumbled. She moved home in such a state that I found myself once again up at odd hours of the night tending to her. My life became one of answering one call for help after another, going from the bedroom where my husband lay to the bedroom where my daughter lay. I was spending a lot of time in the kitchen preparing grain-free meals for my daughter, grain-full meals for my husband, and then realizing I had to figure out something to feed myself. Trips to the grocery store became more frequent. Reading was reduced to Pinterest Paleo sites. And I found myself hitting the delete button before even reading what the cleaning “flight-plan” was for a particular day. My shiny sink was no longer shiny. My floors were not mopped. My toilets and bathroom sinks were not swished and swiped.

And then I crumbled. Not physically, just emotionally. It was so discouraging to me to see all the progress I had made slowly eroding into chaos. Sell my house? How could I possibly show a house under present circumstances? As I am prone to do when the burden seems unbearable, I called my friend, Kathy. She was the voice of reason in the midst of my pity party. She reminded me that my life commitment was to my husband. Everything else needed to point toward his best interest. This meant teaching my daughter some survival skills. She helped me to come up with solutions for other plans that had become derailed in the midst of the chaos. And she helped me go from, “I will never…” to “just not at the moment.” Everyone should have a Kathy in her life.

So. I have at this point shoveled through the debris in the kitchen enough to verify that there are no dead bodies lurking there. I have stopped offering my services to various and sundry outside activities. I have not, however stopped the things that give me some sanity, i.e. church, chorus, book study group, and writing group. My daughter and I have a plan to start teaching her some basic kitchen skills. Perhaps we will blog some of our successes and failures. We have managed to find someone to take over her apartment lease, and I have mentally shuffled things between rooms to make a place for her furniture. I have started the process to get Strokeman into swimming. I am beginning to work back into my morning routine of reading and writing between preparing breakfasts.

On Sunday I resolved that this week I would begin reading the flylady emails again. On Monday, I opened the email to see that this week we are concentrating on the master bedroom. The task for the day was, “spend fifteen minutes cleaning out from under the bed.” There’s nothing under my bed. I realized in that moment that I had not, indeed, lost all progress that had been made this year. Yes, my plan had taken some pretty big hits. But not everything has been lost. Every time I start to go down the path of discouragement I remind myself: There is nothing under my bed. It’s a small thing, I know. But for someone like me who has a long history of stashing as opposed to organizing, it has some significance. And if the storm starts raging too fiercely, I have a place to hide.


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12 Responses to A Glimmer of Hope

  1. how positive you turned things around! well done. when you first mentioned flylady i quickly went and signed up, but by day 2 of reading the emails i was exhausted… just reading all of them. and that was without attempting to do any of their suggestions! it’s nice to see you are also continuing with the things that give you sanity. it is so important to give yourself self-care. blessings!

    • Did you try to read all those emails from the beginning? Most of them are just advertisements for cleaning products. What you need to do if you ever want to try again is start by not reading ANY of the emails. Go into the sight and to the baby steps. They start you really, really slow, and encourage you not to be swallowed up by the guilt of perfectionism. Just do one thing. And yes, I have learned that I must have some non-negotiables in my life.

  2. christina says:

    What a difference that kind of perspective makes! I’m sorry for the resurgence of stress, mess, and health problems, but I bless the Lord for your friend Kathy, for your availability to care for your daughter, and for the months of respite (relative to what came before) preceding the new wave of storms. Sometimes the Lord layers storm upon storm without that deep breath between, you know? My sink is clean today, but don’t ask to see under my bed. We use that as storage for out-of-season clothing, so there’s not even room for Ebony to hide there. 🙂

    May the Lord guide you step by step, heal your girl, bring the right buyer at the right time for your home, and supply the right place for your family’s needs.

    Blessed weekend to you, sister!

    • I would never ask to see under anyone’s bed, Tina. I am in no position to cast stones:) I bless the Lord for my Kathy as well. So thankful to hear things are better than expected on your front. How often does that happen, ha ha. Blessed weekend to you and yours as well.

  3. It is soooo good to read something from you again and to see the small graces-clran under the bed-and big ones-Kathy- God brings in the middle of suffering. Love you!

  4. Debra Owens-Hughes says:

    All that Monster avoidance of your youth has paid off in Wisdom and strength…though you might not feel like it all the time. I want to give a cheer out for Kathy! Kathy, thank you for being the person you are for Deanna! We all need people like you. I pray that you know what an important ministry you are doing, you are changing lives! Deanne, I know you only manage this with God’s strength! I continue to pray for you! Thank you for blessing me with your writing!

    • Yes, cheers for Kathy. She reads my blog by email, so she won’t see all these nice words about her in the comments. I will have to give her a heads up. I am praying for you and that precious granddaughter of yours.

  5. Cindy V says:

    Sanctification is NEVER boring!

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