Chaos
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Chaos

Chaos

I had a house, and then I had children. Preserve your sanity and let go of your attachment of the physical world.

by

A pen, a pen, my kingdom for a pen.

With apologies to Shakespeare, a pen would be much more useful to me right now than a horse. And why is it that however many pens I buy, I can never find one. And how often have I been left on hold for what seems like an interminable amount of time after a friend says: "Let me just find a pen."

Where are they all? And on top of that where is my tape, my stapler and my pillow? Where are my tights (mothers of teenage daughters unite!) and my new blouse? Where is that book I was just reading and that soda I was just drinking? What happened to that beautiful bowl that used to sit on my dining room table? And why is the house such a mess?!!

Kids. I believe that the Almighty gave us children to help us let go of our attachment to the physical world. It's either that or go out of your mind.

How many fastidious people do I know (both male and female) who wasted hours and energy on shining floors and perfectly arranged rooms, only to trip over their "cozy coupe" on the way to the antique table now that children have come into their lives.

Children's toys and paraphernalia dominate what was once a pristine living room. And those white couches have long changed color.

Is it really worth damaging a child for the sake of a bowl?

There is a price to pay for having children, but we recognize how small it is in comparison to the pleasure; not to mention that in focusing on our children and our goals for them, we are lifted above the constraints and demands of the material world.

If your children break something you are forced to confront your priorities. Is it really worth damaging a child for the sake of a bowl? Of course not. Children help take the distortion out of our values.

Not that I'm advocating living like a slob. That's not a healthy environment for clear thought and directed action. I'm just suggesting that we stop envisioning those "magazine" homes. They're not for real people with vibrant families.

There used to be a television show called "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" where, I believe, they showed you around the homes of the well-known and wealthy. My husband wanted to create an alternative show titled "Lifestyles of the Wise and Happy" -- the furniture has nicks in it, the house could use a paint job, the dresser is broken from someone climbing up the drawers one too many times, but it is a home full of joy and life.

Should I get aggravated about the tights or spend a pleasant afternoon with my daughter?

You usually can't have both except at great emotional cost to our children. We know that if, God forbid, one of our children were to become ill and we needed money for treatment, we'd sell everything we own to raise it. We pray we're not put to such a test. But in our day-to-day living we're constantly forced to choose: Should I get aggravated about the tights or ignore the issue and spend a pleasant afternoon with my daughter? Should we spend all our spare time cleaning or involved in family activities? Children teach us to rise above our self-absorption on many levels.

It is a gift that our children help us weaken our material drives and obsessions and lift up to the realm of what really counts. We should thank our children and the Almighty for such a blessing.

Hey, has anybody seen my pen?

Published: February 12, 2000


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Visitor Comments: 3

(3) belinda fisher, October 13, 2004 12:00 AM

gorgeous

dear emunah
there is not an article that you have written that has not spoken to me personally.tell me more about yourself please regards belinda

(2) Naomi Shapiro, November 18, 2002 12:00 AM

Great article and oh how true!

I really enjoyed this article. A friend of mine e-mailed it to me. I can't wait to read other articles of yours! Keep it up.
Naomi

(1) Tamar Baker, November 1, 2000 12:00 AM

Great Article!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I forwarded this to my husband so he should know we're normal... It worked :)
I love your work, keep writing!

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