By: Staci Stallings
A year or so ago my friend was having issues with her mother. By “issues,” I mean that her mother would repeatedly call to “dump” on my friend. The dump was either about family or friends who had done her wrong or it was about the current state of something bad in the world. My friend called saying she was about at the end of her rope. No matter what she said or did, her mother just wouldn’t get the message. Worse, my friend is one who takes bad things to heart, and so this constant barrage of bad was doing very bad things to my friend’s mood and outlook.
Yesterday at Mass our young priest talked about how you build a house. You use brick and wood and glass. You fashion and attach. Finally the house is standing. But there is a big difference between a house and a home. A home starts with a house, but if you stay at just the brick and wood and glass, you will never have a home. A home is built when the people living in the house care about one another and work together toward common goals. They treat each other with respect and kindness.
Similarly, we each have a “house” that is our bodies. It is a physical shell inside of which is a twining of our experiences. Inside our body-house, we can build a home, or we can simply have a pigsty.
With my friend, I likened what her mother was doing to coming into her home and dumping vats of garbage on the living room floor. Each time they talked, more garbage was dumped–leaving my friend to try to clean up the emotional mess her mother had made. Once I explained it this way, my friend could clearly see how and why her mother’s dumping left her feeling so rotten.
In the same way, we all choose for the most part what comes into our body-house. Do we consciously invite in good stuff that cleans and nourishes us? Or do we regularly allow junk in? Do we invite people to dump all over our spiritual living room? Do we clog our emotional bedrooms with whatever happens to come in–or worse actively choose garbage?
I contend that you have a house. You get to choose if that house is a home or a pigsty. One way to determine if your current house is a home or a pigsty is to ask yourself, “Is this somewhere that I want to spend time? Do I like myself? Do others like me and want to be around me? Am I a safe place to fall? Or am is my life filled with garbage only waiting for the next dump to take place?”
Consider this as you choose the things that come into your life, and even if you’ve had a pigsty in the past, you can now work to fork out some of that garbage, clean the place up, and start making a home.