Yes, I admit it.
What can I say?
I guess living in a messy room, or a messy house for that matter, never really bothered me.
But, recently, something changed.
And, I’ve decided that living that way is not the way I want to be, nor do I want to raise my children in it.
So, I’ve made many steps (including hiring a friend to teach me the basics on how to upkeep my house) to make the changes happen.
And, so far things are going smoothly.
Beds are being made in the mornings.
Toys are being picked up before bedtime.
Dishes are being washed on time.
And, overall, when you walk into my house, you get a different feeling than what you may have had in the past.
(Note: I’m not saying my house is a museum by any means… it’s just a lot more orderly than it’s been ever in my life.)
The changes are wonderful.
My husband notices it.
My children notice it.
I certainly notice it.
And, it’s affecting me beyond my house.
It has expanded to desiring that my community be as orderly as my house now is.
So, when I walk around the kibbutz and notice trash or things not returned to their proper places… I feel frustrated and want to do something about it.
Like this past week, when our kibbutz had the pleasure of hosting a national teenage youth group for 4 days during Chanukah.
I felt happy that we can open our community to others.
I felt blessed that we have the space and facilities to host them.
Yet, I felt frustrated when I saw candy wrappers lying outside the synagogue.
Or, printed materials all over the ground.
Or, tables not returned to their proper places.
And, over these past 4 days, I caught myself several times, noticing the judging that I was doing with this group:
“They are teenagers. There’s no way they’re going to clean up after themselves. I must notify the head of the group. If I am not for myself, who will be for me?”
Each time I stopped and paused and allowed myself to be still. (S) I took several breaths.
And, as I allowed myself to feel this judging that I was doing, I also allowed myself to tell myself (T) what that judging feels like.
And, I must admit, it didn’t feel good.
I hate judging.
I hate what it feels like.
And since I wasn’t really aware of any history with this group (U), I chose (in each of those moments) not to do anything (C). Not to pick up the trash. Not to call the head of the group.
But, to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Perhaps they will clean up.
Perhaps “cleanup” is a part of their 4 day experience here.
And, as difficult as it was to choose that, I did.
And, you know what?
They left today.
And, the grounds were clean.
And, the wrappers were thrown away.
And, the tables were placed back in their proper place.
Because apparently one hour of cleanup on the kibbutz was obligatory on their last day here.
What a relief.
What happiness this practice is bringing me.
Even if the group had left a mess, at least I would have known that I paused and gave them the benefit of the doubt they deserved.
And, I forgave myself (K) for being stuck in their mess in the first place.