Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Home Teaching

I keep thinking of things to blog about, but the time has been going by so fast. I can't believe it's almost October! In my head I've composed posts on many and varied topics: the word bindle, the neighbor's crazy cat, mystery novels, money-making ideas, projects I've been working on... there just isn't time to write it all down. And then when I do get time, I end up writing a novel. I still have an unpublished post about seeing The Drums for the first time, when they came to Chapel Hill earlier this month. There was and is so much to say about it and them and that experience that I am still not finished writing about it, though it's become extremely long and, I'm afraid, unwieldy.

But I don't want the days to slip away unrecorded. There are some things about these times that I will not mind forgetting (the piles of boxes in this house that are driving me crazy, for example), but for the most part, C and I are having a wonderful time. And I continue to be surprised and amazed by him.

On Sunday, one of my Home Teachers came up to me and asked when a good time to visit would be. I suddenly panicked, but couldn't say anything because C was right there. My Visiting Teachers already know that instead of coming to visit me at home each month, it's better to meet at an ice cream place, for example. My house just is not presentable yet. In all the years that C has lived here, he has filled the rooms, hoarder style, with boxes of tools, books, pots and pans, etc. to the point that the place is bursting at the seams and there is hardly room to walk around, let alone sit down. If it were just up to me, I'd have it whipped into shape in a matter of days, but it drives C crazy to not know where anything is. He has to do it all himself. C knew that when we got married, things would have to eventually change--I believe a house should be comfortable, functional, clean and organized--but he has been changing very very slowly (in my mind) and while things are improving, the house is still claustrophobically cluttered, with corners I haven't even been able to reach, let alone dust yet, and definitely not ready for visitors. So, like I said, I panicked. While I nodded in agreement with a fake smile on my face when they asked if they could come for a visit on Tuesday, in my head I was freaking out. I looked at C out of the corner of my eyes, but he had no idea what was going through my head. He somehow didn't share my views on the situation, and calmly jotted down the man's name on his notepad. We went in to Sunday School, and I didn't hear a word the teacher spoke. My mind was reeling. What was I going to do? Should I cancel the visit? Could I hurry and rearrange and clean the house by Tuesday? Could I let them into the house as it was? No, I'd die!

After Sunday School, I couldn't keep silent anymore. I told C we needed to go outside and talk, so we did, and in the church parking lot I started to tell him how I felt about the house. I even cried. He didn't understand at all, and I spent the rest of the day trying to explain how I felt about people coming to the house with it looking this way, and I guess maybe it was our first real fight, even though there was no yelling or anything like that. We skipped the third hour of church and just drove home. I felt like a horrible, proud, ungrateful wife, and at the same time I believed I was right to want what I wanted. C maintained that anyone who came over to our house was entitled to think anything they want and he couldn't care less what it might be, because we are honest hardworking people with a new roof over our heads, and they ought to not judge. I agreed, but insisted that a house should, if possible, be kept neat and clean and reflect the personality of its residents, and also that guests should have a place to sit where they are not surrounded by mounds of boxes and assorted piles of things, with a view of cobwebs in unreachable places.

We talked it out for a long time, and then I went over to see my mom and dad. On the way to their house, it was rainy and foggy, but the sun hadn't set yet. I passed a farm, and saw a herd of deer running in the distance. One doe was pure white. Maybe I took it as an omen of peace or hope, but I already knew that everything was going to be all right.

I decided not to cancel the Home Teachers' visit, swallowing my pride, and C, swallowing his, started excavating what may eventually become our living room. It wasn't ready by Tuesday, but we compromised and decided to host our Home Teachers on the front porch, the most attractive section of our house at the moment. It was a fine evening and, despite a few noisy cars going by, it was pleasant and charming to sit out there, citronella candles burning, and the scent of autumn just barely beginning to creep through the neighborhood. On a whim, I whipped up a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

I'm so glad I didn't cancel the meeting. Our Home Teachers arrived and were more than happy to sit on the porch and talk. This was the first time we'd met them, so we spent the time just answering questions, telling them about us, talking about all sorts of things. The conversation inevitably turned to the church and the gospel, and C asked questions about the Book of Mormon. We talked about Joseph Smith, obedience, and faith. They bore their testimonies humbly, and shared several scriptures that related to the things we were talking about. When they left, I couldn't believe it had only been an hour--we seemed to have covered so much ground. C felt the opposite--he was left wanting more, and said he wished they had gotten even deeper into a religious discussion with even more meat to it. That made me smile with joy and surprise at my once-reclusive husband's willingness to receive visitors, talk about the gospel, and wish for more!

I learned a lesson this week, and I'm continuing to learn it. Some things are important, others are not.


Kate said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I'm grateful to know that I'm not the only person who gets anxious about not having a home where people can drop by and I'll feel like they can wander right on in and be comfortable and I'll be relaxed about the way everything looks. Sometimes I get stuck on those "if only.." thoughts and they can ruin the span of a few hours before I'm able to get away from them. I really don't like feeling like all that matters to me is "stuff" and appearances - because ultimately it doesn't! And I'm comforted to know that I'm not the only one who gets swept away by those kinds of things from time to time. It sounds like your situation was resolved in such a lovely way where the most important things got to shine, and I think that was what you wanted all along.

Lady Holiday said...

Thanks, Kate!