I’ve always been a deep thinker. I consider it one of my character defects although at times it does come in handy. Some might label my thinking problem anxiety. Others like to call it over-analyzing. I use those terms (and others) interchangeably, as they all seem to adequately describe the nature of this malady.
My latest thinking debacle has caused me to question if anything I do actually matters.
Did the time I spent at the park with my kids matter?
Did the words I spoke to my friend over the phone matter?
Do the baskets of clean, folded laundry matter?
Do the thoughts I shared in my latest blog post actually matter?
Do the ideas I’ve spent time and energy formulating into engaging chapters for a book that people may or may not read matter?
If I go back to work as a therapist, will it matter?
Yes. It all matters. Everything I do and don’t do matters. Not in the big, my life is going to fall apart because I didn’t clean the house and a friend came over type of way, but it matters because I make it matter.
It matters that I didn’t have time to do the dishes this morning because I was busy snuggling a sick toddler in my bed. That precious time with my son matters. The dishes piled up in the kitchen sink matter because he matters.
It matters that I vacuumed the floor last night. Not because my house needed to appear perfectly put together but because vacuuming is therapeutic for me. And last night my body needed to engage in a repetitive motion so my mind could make sense of a whole bunch of nonsense that was swirling around up there. That action mattered because I matter.
It matters that I spent time working on a heartfelt article which encapsulated the despair I felt in the depth of my addiction and the hope that came when I reached out for help the first time. It mattered that sharing my experience gave hope to an addict who previously had none. It mattered that because of my words he was willing to reach out and ask for help. That article mattered because his life matters.
It matters that I spent an entire day binge-watching Netflix last weekend. It matters that I was able to give my body a much needed break after I had been pushing it past its pain threshold for days. Watching Netflix mattered because having access to a distraction from my pain while my body restores itself matters.
It matters that I yelled at my 5-year-old last week. It was an ugly yell. It was the kind of yell that was so loud and monstrous that after I was done I peeked outside to see if any neighbors came out of their houses to see what was going on. Yelling at him mattered because it taught me that I am still capable of losing self-control. Yelling at him drew awareness to the anger that still lives deep inside me and prompted me to seek a different outlet for the anger. Yelling at him mattered because him seeing me as a flawed human being instead of superwoman matters.
It matters that I apologized to that same 5-year-old only minutes after I yelled. It matters that I explained to him that sometimes Mommy loses her temper and the fact that I yelled doesn’t mean I love him any less. It doesn’t mean he’s a bad boy. It doesn’t change anything about him, or me. It matters that he told me my yelling scared him. That conversation mattered because our relationship matters.
It matters that my husband left his dirty socks on the living room floor again for the millionth time. It matters that I repeatedly ask him to put his dirty laundry where it belongs. It matters that I get annoyed by little things like dirty socks and receipts left in pockets that turn into a confetti surprise that greets me when I unload the dryer. Dirty socks and paper confetti matter because my best friend doesn’t have socks to pick up anymore. Her husband died last year. The socks matter because my husband’s presence matters.
It matters that my kids draw on walls with crayons, throw dirt at each other, break some of my most precious belongings and dump out bins of toys at a time. It matters that they jump on furniture, are loud and never stop moving. It matters because they are children who are having fun and their childhood matters.
It matters that my three boys fight with each other often but are each other’s best friends. It matters that they don’t go to sleep when they are supposed to because they sneak into each other’s rooms to talk and play. It matters that they often won’t listen to me, but they listen to one another. It matters because their brotherhood matters.
I matter. He matters. They matter. You matter. Action matters. Inaction matters. Time matters. Moments matter.
The little things matter, although sometimes not in the way we think. Sure, it doesn’t really matter if the dishes and the laundry are done today, tomorrow or next week. But the dishes and laundry matter because the little people we are clothing and feeding matter.
It all matters because it all makes up this beautiful journey called life.
And living a full life matters.