There is a tradition among my circle for Fridays.
On Fridays, we are supposed to prepare our homes (and ourselves) for Shabbat. What this looks like for most people is scrubbing the house, getting rid of the daily clutter, making sure everyone in the house has done what they are supposed to do, and prepping food.
What this feels like, for many of us who struggle to balance all of lifes' demands, is one more thing to stress about.
Now, I am not someone who believes in keeping a spotless house. spotlessness gives me anxiety, I hate it, and what's more; I don't have time for it. If I have to choose between snuggling my husband and kids or folding the laundry, the laundry is going to lose every time. That said, I do care about starting Shabbat off on the right foot, and that means closing all those metaphorical doors I left open all week.
I know this week, I had stresses that didn't want to let go: Things I have been fighting to get done for next week that it's now too late to complete. I had five craft projects half completed that need cleaned up, a tabletop RPG that needs tucked away until next game night, dishes in my filthy sink, my body that needed showered and cared for... and three loads of laundry that are still staring at me from the basket, just waiting for me to give them my time.
With all these nascient chores cluttering my brain, it's very hard to let go and take care of my inner house; my soul. I can't take time to check in with myself,or to pull my mind into this current moment. As I shove more laundry into the basket, I struggle to simply exist right now, to accept that everything will be fine, that I've done my best... That my best is plenty. And I have to admit that, with all of the clutter, sitting at the feet of my God and just existing in his presence kind of just slipped my mind. It didn't happen. And that makes me sad.
Because that's what this entire ritual is about; to make room for yourself to be able to rest in his presence. To be able to feel the beat of your own heart, the draw of your own breath and to thank him for those very beautiful things. To spend time studying his word, and connecting with your community, so that you are refreshed and reequipped to tackle the week ahead.
Even being disappointed and sad and distracted, I remind myself that I can reach out to him at any time. This isn't the DMV, with limited hours of operation. God is available even on the weekdays. And I try to remember that I can reach out to him at any time, even from my messy house, and my overflowing laundry basket.
I just saw a post on facebook about setting manageable goals: "If you can't run a whole load of dishes, wash one dish. If you can't take a shower, wash your face, etc." It was a post specifically about coping with Executive Dysfunction, but I think I'm going to apply it to my prep days
Maybe I can't get my whole house in order. But I can empty the dishwasher. I can't clean off all the surfaces in the house, but I can wipe down the stove. That laundry will still be staring at me come Sunday morning... But I washed my face, and I swept my floor. And maybe that's enough for this prep day.