It's never quite perfect around here. There's always stuff on the kitchen table. There's always something I haven't found a home for on the counters. There's always something waiting to be put away on the steps and the mantle is never pristine. The house is never immaculate or trendy and there are a lot of scuffed edges and projects waiting to be tackled.
I struggle with this - the desire for a beautiful home, for a little more taste and style and a little more care about it all in general. I'd love to have that shining, beautiful, welcoming home. I'd also like to be that shining, beautiful, welcoming person.
I get sucked into blogs and pictures of those homes and those people - you know the ones. The ones who have the taste and the budget. The ones who have the time and maybe quite a few more years of experience (usually, when I stop to think of it - none of them work day jobs or are in the baby/preschooler years of their families anymore). I think what a beautiful way for my inner life to shine thru to my outer life. If people want to emulate the outer side of my life, they can be drawn to what's deep down.
One of my books for Lent is a little work called "Life and Holiness" by Thomas Merton and I think I've read his chapter called "An Imperfect Ideal" half a dozen times already.
"It is unfortunately quite possible that a superficial religiosity, without deep roots and without fruitful relation to the needs of men and of society, may turn out in the end to be an evasion of imperative religious obligations.
Our time needs more than devout, Chruch-going people who avoid serious wrongs ... but who seldom do anything constructive or positively good.
It is not enough to be outwardly respectable.
On the contrary mere external respectability, without deeper or more positive moral values, brings discredit upon the Christian faith."
I wonder if Mr. Merton was foreseeing this age of mommy bloggers and lifestyle bloggers and religions trying to sell people on faith, morals or anything else by selling them just the trappings of a lifestyle. It's nice to have a reminder that pretty pictures, nice blogs and immaculate houses and great style are not what makes me good at this faith-stuff and it's not what should be drawing people to my faith either.