Once upon a time, after moving to the big city, we lost all of our money in a nearly scam-ful bad investment, while raising our children, in the process of buying a house, without steady employment. My husband did all he could to find permanent work, while working temporary jobs day and night until he found steady employment.
I wanted to stay with my children, and work found me in which they could stay with me. A principal at an elementary school across the street asked if I would like to start an after-school care program on their premises. I did. It is not like me to do a job like that, nor did I know what I was doing, but the Lord brought us that work, and we would do it well by His grace.
A friend who was also a doctor, asked if I did housecleaning work. By grace again, I did. A neighbor of hers, a lawyer, hired me also. I was happy to have work and keep my children with me. My kids often helped on smaller jobs, picked up sticks and nuts outside, or read.
I was zealous in my housecleaning for those who hired me, wanting to do as much as I could within a two hour period so they wouldn’t have to do as much, because they were working women. Ironing and laundry were included. It was the doctor from whom I learned the term “meaningful piles”, as there were books piled here and there, that I would diligently discharge into their spaces on the shelves. I would put things away, rather than dusting around or lifting and setting them again.
Her husband couldn’t find anything he was working on. She asked me to not disturb the piles, because they were meaningful.
Having young children, I had forgotten that any piles were meaningful. All the piles I dealt with at that time in life, were meant to be picked up, making space for the next pile to happen. Looking back, every one of those piles, too, were exceeding meaningful. They had learning, life, family, sharing time, growing, having fun, making messes, loving, giving, hugs and fishy-kisses in them. Those piles had “together” in them. Every pile has a story.
But at this time in my life, I have discovered the joy of leaving the piles, that are meaningful, until I come back to them. The processes of creativity or learning await me with eager willingness as I flit from one project to another during my day. It’s nice to have them waiting. They remind me that I need to come back, dwell in for a bit, right where I left off last time. They invite me to spend time in the Word, or thinking of my children or friends, or a story that I can tell.
The piles in our lives at any given time represent what the Lord has given us to do. If we’re under a pile, or digging in to a pile, crying or dancing on a pile, it is what our lives are. My husband says that “every mess is a perfect mess.”
The piles tell the story of our lives. Every life, every pile, is meaningful.