I think I think things through, but I don't. I hear myself say, 'It'll be fine,' and 'I'll squeeze it in,' and I know that I often approach life the way I approach an early morning training session: don't think about it and once I'm in it, I'll just have to get on with it.
So, somehow it made sense, or seemed to make sense, to go away for 10 days, return on New Year's Eve, have old and long-not-seen friends for the day, celebrate my son's 10th birthday in London (again, a bank holiday, though not in his honour) and then have my bathroom to be ripped out. I have coped with the mess and muddle of the weekend by holding on to the thought of these few days before I begin term 'officially' next Monday. I had planned to use this week to give my house a thorough tidy; clear out some cupboards, while unpacking and washing the holiday clothes; plan the term for the children and prepare some exciting science activities; write some meaningful New Year's resolutions and get myself mentally and environmentally ready for the coming months. Instead my house has reverberated to the two workmen singing along to the radio as they bang and crash, the entire contents of my bathroom has been spread over the upstairs rooms and the carpets desperately in need of an extensive vacuum are covered in dustsheets. I cannot move upstairs, let alone tidy and organize. Of course I can't, why did I ever think I would be able to?
I have managed to clean my kitchen windows and scrub the sink. The lounge is tidy and the children have been told in no uncertain terms that if they move so much as a speck of dust they need to put it back where they found it. I can cope, I think, if I have somewhere that is tidy, somewhere that feels ordered. Everywhere I look I can see something that needs doing: DVDs that need sorting, junk drawers that need culling, recipe books that need pruning, but I am proud of my growing ability to turn my back on it, to tolerate the mess, to trust that there will be time to do it if it needs doing or that it won't seem so important later on.
It has been suggested that my need to tidy up is an outworking of my internal messiness and it is certainly true that by ordering the world around me I can soothe my tension. I have quite a lot of messy feelings right now and feel unsettled and uncertain in many places. But I am trying to deal head on with these issues, to think and to talk and to pray and to separate the internal work from the housework.