When I go to someone else's house, of course I notice differences between theirs and mine. (not including decor. Most everyone has better/nicer/newer decor than we do. I don't compare there.) I might make mental, often hardly conscious observations like this:
Man, clean (uncluttered) surfaces everywhere!
Eeek. I'm sticking to the back of this dining chair!
What a great idea for a chore chart!
Wow, they're really teaching responsibility the way they have their kids care for their pet!
I hope that stack of books doesn't fall off the piano onto anyone's head.
I have to ask for this recipe!
I learn about things I could improve in my own home. I also learn about things I am doing well. I am reminded that the little things I neglect and don't notice anymore will be noticed by visitors to my own home (hello, piles of papers on the stairs!). It's pretty easy not to judge because our strengths and weaknesses are different and it is easy to recognize that. It's also pretty easy not to get down on myself because I do have strengths, and can work on my weaknesses.
In every house I learn something about how I think my own home should be.
And then I visit the house in which I learn everything about how my home should be.
- The people working there are happy, helpful and calm. They work and seem to care only for the smooth, proper functioning of the house and the joy of those who are inside. They stand, not preoccupied or absorbed with any distraction, but very open, always looking for ways to help anyone that may have problems or who even just may want to chat for a moment.
- It is clean there. Very clean.
- There is a schedule. It is followed and everyone goes about their business knowing what to expect. Things get done; people do those things willingly.
- A spirit of service and love is felt everywhere.
I learn all of these things and do my best to make my own home a house of order, peace and love.
But more than what I learned through observation in that house, I learned through the spirit. I learned what I already know. What I have always known. What matters most to me. But somehow learning it again changes me.
I learn that my Father really, really loves me. I am his. That is amazing. He has big plans for me. I can be so much more than I have been. I have not been who I am. How did I forget who I am, even while I knew it?
How did I forget why on earth I'm here? Or rather why I'm here on Earth? I knew it. I did, and I was reminded and refocused over and over again, but even then, I didn't really get it all the way, I think.
In that house I learned how my home should be. And I learned how and what and who I should be. And why.