It started last fall, when life was changing, trying to re-balance itself under the weight of all that Hope. And I couldn't keep my hands off the clutter around me because who can resist bringing order to the chaos when God's gifted a future no one ever saw coming?
So I recorded all the mess in pictures that held a thousand words, told the story of the path I'd walked in the months before a diagnosis. And then I set to work, carved out a place for my new life--a place to breathe and rest and find a way to really live.
And I took pictures then, too, of all the progress made, and I really did make progress. But there was one corner of space that seemed too big to handle and I might've tried my best and I might've even made it halfway up the mountain.
But that's where I stopped and that's where it stayed and that's where it's been for nearly a year.
And then the days of silence come and I can't make sense of all the chaos of a soul and all I want is to fix something, anything--bring order to what I can touch with my own two hands. And this time I won't give up until it's finished.
It isn't easy and it isn't fast, but after weeks of work, I stand back and I know I've done what I needed. Because somehow, what once held all those symbols of a broken, weighed down, jumbled mess of a life--it stands there now with space and beauty and peace.
And I wrestle for weeks about the importance of these pictures--whether anyone really needs to see the inner workings of a daily life. But I start to think maybe I'm not the only one who's feeling the chaos of a soul and longing for a way to find a little peace.
God, He's the only One who works out all the mess of a life, breaths order back into the places of a soul turned inside out by change and struggle and the everyday journey. But sometimes we just need to give Him room to work, clear out a bit of chaos in the tangible corners of our lives, give ourselves an object lesson in the process of restoration.
So there's nothing earth shattering here, but I'll gladly share the little steps it took to climb this mountain of mine--and maybe, just maybe, they'll whisper Hope to a few hearts working through some chaos of their own?
First I ask for help (something I'm still learning how to do) and it's only an afternoon later when a carpentry-savvy father finishes putting in shelves to make better use of the space on the left side of my desk. Now it holds all the brightly-colored books I need for work, a white wooden box to corral miscellaneous cords and connections, and one over-sized plastic drawer unit for reams of paper, folders and large mailing envelopes.
On the right side of my desk, I use an adhesive-backed hook to mount the wall calendar to the white board I never use. Then I find an incline sorter at a secondhand shop and fill it with brightly colored folders to keep open projects and paperwork close at hand. A small metal desk organizer houses the office supplies I need often and keeps them neatly ready for use. (And the little cat and dog? They are squishy tools for hand exercises and stress relief. They keep me sane while I work.)
And that center shelf that's always collected paper and junk and who-knows-what-else? I fill it with three plastic drawer units, carefully labeled and holding everything from stationery and paperclips to software and blank discs.
Then I find a pack of cardboard storage boxes on sale for half price and choose a roll of contact paper from the kitchen aisle. It might be a few hours of painstaking work, but I turn those plain and empty boxes into beauty-covered homes for all the files my drawers won't hold--and at the cost of only a few dollars per box. They line the top tier of my desk, and I smile every time I look up and find them there.
I've got more music CDs than I can count, so I purchase empty sheets to hold them, find three-ring binders at the secondhand shop, and now they're all happily ordered and labeled. Two clearance CD racks make homes for the new music I've yet to listen to, load onto the computer, and burn backup discs for the car.
And then I turn my attention to the back of this enormous desk, try to wrangle three sets of cords into some semblance of peace. But even then, I'm left longing for beauty, so I use sticky-backed Velcro and a flat twin sheet and cover up all the things that aren't supposed to be seen anyway.
When I've finally made order out of all the mess, I realize what I've really done is this: Given the soul a bit of time and space to breathe and ponder and find its way back to the One Who is Peace. And when I wonder how there'll ever be a day without the soul in upheaval, I stare long at this desk that's been torn apart and remade into something beautiful and I remember that the One Who turns the ashes into beauty has never seen a mountain He couldn't climb, a life He couldn't rescue, a soul He couldn't make into a Home.
So if your feeling a bit lost inside? Wondering how to find Peace? Maybe turn your hands to a little corner of the tangible world and practice what He's already doing in the soul corners you can't reach. And just maybe you'll discover you've made room to breathe and ponder and find your way back to Peace Himself.
Grace to you, Dear Friends, in whatever state of chaos you may find yourself. May you know He's near and active no matter the depth of your mess.