Sometimes I grow tired of attempting to keep myself temperate and controlled, like a walk-in freezer forever set at the perfect temperature. I grow weary of maintaining some semblance of an image.
Sometimes, to thaw out, I practice letting people see me in various states of disarray. I purposely do not change out of my bright-red, extra-large moose pajama pants when a friend drops her children off to play, even when I am also wearing a mismatched shirt and no makeup and my hair is disheveled, as if I have just fallen out of bed.
I practice asking for help, even when I could likely do it on my own and even though I must ignore the requisite feelings of guilt over being such a burden to everyone.
I practice telling my friends the sorry state of my heart, how I envy and how I don't trust God sometimes and how I am restless and discontent.
Sometimes I also practice letting people see my house in various states of disarray, because that somehow feels even more intimate than showing them my heart or letting them see me in my red moose pajamas.
I practice not cleaning the ring from the toilet bowl and not fussing over an elaborate meal when friends are coming over. And then I practice leaving the garage door up so they will walk through the jumble of bikes and coats and backpacks and leaves blown in rather than climbing the stairs to my beautifully arranged porch.
I practice not hiding from other moms the Cheetos and the Caprisuns I allow my children to ingest.
I practice letting my children draw all over the windows with window markers and not immediately digging under the sink for the Windex when they run upstairs to play.
Sometimes I am not prepared for people to see me or my home in disarray, but am secretly glad when they do. Like when Bill, one of the other pastors at our church, showed up one morning last week at the kitchen door as I was doing dishes in my red moose pajama pants and makeup from the day before that I'd been too lazy to wash off before bed. My husband, as husbands do, had forgotten to tell me he was coming. I was a smeared, moosey mess and so was the kitchen, but I said hello and returned to the dishes with a smile. Good, I though to myself. I'm getting better. I'm thawing.
That, too, I am practicing, the not worrying when others see my disarray on accident, when I am not controlling even what disarray they see.
In thawing, I find myself in a state of gratefulness. Less of my time is spent corraling life and more of it is spent seeing, listening, relating, and enjoying. There is less isolation and navel gazing, more warmth and seeing outward.
Sometimes I am not good at gratefulness (see: "sorry state of my heart" above).
But I'm practicing.