Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Woman to Woman

I've followed the Woman to Woman posts before, but have never participated. The assignment is "Share an important quote and what it means to you". Well...that's a tough one for me. I like quotations. I keep a small notebook where I write down quotes that are especially meaningful to me, usually ones that are too long for me to easily commit to memory. C.S. Lewis, Mother Teresa, Tolstoy, Philip Yancey, and passages of Scripture are written there. I usually flip through that book when I am dusting the shelf on which it lives, and I always find encouragement and inspiration, no matter what mood I am in. So the difficulty does not lie in a shortage of quotes. This assignment is difficult for me because I am an indecisive person. There are too many choices!

Okay, seriously, the quote I have chosen for today is not exactly Tolstoy material. It is a simple phrase that I am borrowing from the BSA, one that has helped me to overcome mountains of laundry and herds of dust bunnies.

"Be prepared."

That's it. Nothing too profound.

I try to remind myself of this simple principle as I go about my day. For me, being prepared means staying on top of things. It means that on days like today, when I do not have any commitments outside of my home, I need to take care of the laundry and the cleaning and other household responsibilities, for two reasons. First, so that on the days when I do have outside commitments, I can focus wholeheartedly on them without being distracted by thoughts of what needs to be done at home. Second, so that I can freely accept opportunities as they arise. Andy and I try very hard to be available to good opportunities. I do not mean ladder of success opportunities, but rather opportunities to build and strengthen friendships, to help others, to enjoy each other, to learn. And we are constantly amazed by how frequently those opportunities present themselves. Of course there are times when we need to be intentional about them. We need to seek out a friend whom we haven't seen in a while, or choose a study with our small group that will challenge us, or arrange for a babysitter so we can spend time alone together. But more often than not, life presents unsolicited opportunities, and we do our best to remain flexible enough to accept the ones that fit us.

I guess another way of looking at it, for me, (can you tell I'm just thinking this through as I write?) is keeping my home and personal life in order. That is not to say I am always successful at this. I procrastinate, I dawdle, I get distracted, sometimes I'm just plain lazy. But at those times when things are in order, I inevitably appreciate it. When we have unexpected company, I am always grateful for the time spent cleaning the house earlier in the week. When Elise gets sick, I appreciate that the towels and sheets are all clean. When there is an emergency, I'm so glad the gas tank is full. And when a friend brings their baby home from the hospital (there are so many babies in our circle of friends right now...), I am thankful for an organized kitchen (always Andy's doing) with all the necessary ingredients to make an extra meal or two. And I hope I'm not giving the impression that this happens all the time. We are not always ready for these curve balls. There are times when we have unexpected company and I quickly throw piles of clutter into our bedroom and close the door. More than one of our new-parent-friends have been given dinners of pre-packaged pasta or soup, lovingly prepared by the kind chefs at Costco. I had to stop for gas on the way to a friend's house when she was in labor. (Did I ever tell you that, Beth?) These things happen.

So the moral of my way-too-long story is that "Be prepared" is a simple phrase that propels me through the laundry, the vacuuming, the errands, the phone calls. Nothing fancy. Just a reminder to keep going when the meaningfulness of my daily work escapes me.


Beth said...

No, you didn't tell me that. I'm shocked! And you even knew that I would almost certainly be going into labor that weekend.

Lei said...

I've always thrived in a house of order as well!

Montserrat said...

Great reminder! There are so many areas in life that this applies to.

Belladonna said...

They say great things come in small packages and in the case of your quote that is definitely true.

I heard a GREAT talk recently about being prepared for disaster - only instead of listing water storage or batteries or 72-hr kits the speaker details ways to built personal resiliency, spiritual reserves and emotional strength to endure. Powerful stuff!

There are many layers and levels to that wise council to be prepared.

Tigersue said...

Be Prepared.
Ouch, I am so disorganized right now. I have been for a couple of years. I have to shake myself out of it and get back to work. ;)

Gran - (Angela) said...

Great quote...that speaks volumes! It is hard to always be prepared. I try very hard...but still fall short at times. Thank you for sharing with us today.
Have a great evening!

Penless Thoughts said...

Some times the simplist things are the most profound.

randi said...

Great quote---short but profound!

Morning Glory said...

There may be only two words in that quote, but they pack a punch. It's a lot of work to be prepared, but definitely worth it.

I'm really glad you joined in on this topic this time. It's been very rewarding to have new participants show up.