Dr. James L. Snyder
In our house, we have a rule that has enabled us to live at peace with one another for more years than I can remember. That rule is simple, “Don’t mess with my space and I won’t mess with your space
I must admit some rather close calls have challenged that relationship during those years. I will not say from which side of the house it came from; just that it was not my side.
It must be quite difficult for someone like the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage whom, I must confess is a neat freak, and I am just a plain old messy freak.
My wife cannot relax if something is out of place. On occasion, I will catch her glancing in the direction of “my space” and I know exactly what she is thinking. I do not always know what she is thinking, because that would be very taxing on my thinking machine. But here, I know exactly what she is thinking. She wants to clean up my mess. “Do you need any help tidying up your office?”I know it is a ploy for her to get her organizing paws on my things and arrange them so I cannot find anything I want, when I want it. Although it may not look like it to her, I am quite organized, thank you. I guess we have a different idea when it comes to organization. When I go to the cupboard in the kitchen, I know everything will be in its place. In the bathroom, the same thing goes. Everything is neatly put in its place. She knows where everything is and everything is where she wants it. Well, maybe not quite everything. There are those issues with me.
To make matters worse, she has this idea of cleaning the house on a regular basis. Do you know how annoying it is to hear the vacuum cleaner running when trying to take a nap? Like clockwork, “our” vacuum cleaner takes its weekly, if not more frequently, run throughout the house. Do you know how much electricity it takes to do that on a weekly basis? If I had to choose between dirt and electricity, I would choose dirt every time.
My space is just a little bit different. I like to think of my space as actual living/working quarters. It may look like a mess to some Philistine, but I can assure you everything has a place and everything is in its place. I can find what I want when I want it, which is the only thing that really matters. If I cannot find what I need when I need it, then I do not really need it. Life is that simple when you accept “messy” as a lifestyle.
Just recently, my wife suggested that perhaps she could help me organize my office space. I just scowled at her and said, “Don’t mess with my space and I won’t mess with your space.” She smiled one of those sympathetic smiles she gives everyone she thinks does not know what is going on in the world. Quite frankly, I do not need to know what is going on in the world. All I need to know is what is going on in my world and I have several piles in my office I can consult on that topic. All offers to help me tidy up “my mess” go unheeded. I like my mess because it is my mess. I made it, I’m proud of it and I love it. I have grown quite uneasy as of late. Every time I go away, I come back to find some new remodeling project completed in our house. I am starting to believe she sees too much of “This Old House.” I spent a week in California once, only to come home and find the kitchen completely remodeled. Now, I think the plan was for me not to know where anything in the kitchen is. All the old cupboards have been replaced by newer and bigger cupboards.
I am afraid at this point to raise any kind of an objection. After all, we do have that “my space/your space” policy and I really do not want to jeopardize that in any fashion. My basic concern is this; I fear when I go for a week and come back “my space” will be so completely remodeled and organized that I will not recognize it and will not be able to find anything I need. What, then, would I do? If I compliment her on her remodeling jobs, it might make her confident about doing more remodeling jobs which may spill over into “my space.” Can you imagine how awful it would be?
It would be a sad day if I came home from some trip and found “my mess” completely gone. What would I do with my life? I would have to start life all over again and you know how expensive that is. It is tough married to a fix-up guru; then again, I suppose it is harder to be wedded to a mess-up guru. I have one concession in this area. David said it so well, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalms 51:7 KJV). God specializes in cleaning up messes and preparing people like me for heaven. That’s what really matters.
Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. His web site is www.jamessnyderministries.com.