I hate messes. I don’t mean that lightly. I mean, I really hate messes. Like the kind of loathing that when I see a mess in my home, my heart has slight palpitations and I instantly feel stressed out. These may be signs that I have some form of OCD. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor.

Do you know who loves to make messes? Dogs. Husbands. Life.

We have two dogs in our suburban home. A black Lab and a Pitbull mix. These two have very little in common when it comes to their personality or looks, but they do share one common theme: they shed. A lot. Sometimes they will walk right up to me, look me in the eyes, and then shake their whole body and I can literally see the hair falling off of them and onto my nice, freshly vacuumed carpet. It’s like their mocking me. The Lab also has this uncanny ability to drink from the water bowl while simultaneously creating a monsoon on the floor. Then he usually makes the decision to lay in said monsoon, creating a black haired puddle in the middle of the kitchen. Man’s best friend alright…. *eye roll*

My husband, Robert, bless his adorable heart. He really had no clue what he was getting into when he married me. We may have lived in sin together before we were married (I know, I know…We have since learned from our past transgressions) but that was back in the “honeymoon phase” or as my dad so eloquently called it, “playing house.” I still tried to contain a level of sanity back then. However, currently, if he misplaces his wet towel or leaves his dirty socks downstairs on the couch, I behave like he just committed a hate crime against me and proceed to passive aggressively pick up his belongings until he, ever so naively, asks ‘what’s wrong’ and then, oh buddy, watch out! Crazy Kaile makes her grand entrance. I take it as a personal offense when he leaves a mess around the house.

*Side note: why do I act this way, you ask? Shouldn’t I know better than to give into these irrational habits by now? Look back again at the title of this piece. It says LEARNING, people. Not mastering. Cut a girl some slack.

Recently, I have had a slight change of heart when it comes to messes. This emotional maturing was brought on from our home going through a tiny remodel. You see, we are replacing the carpet in the upstairs bedrooms and the tile in the guest bathroom. Nothing huge, but I’m ecstatic about it. The down side of remodeling anything is the mess. All of our furniture from upstairs had to be moved downstairs. So, two bedroom sets, an office set, and the start of a nursery are all squished into our living and family rooms. It looks like a tornado swept through my house, picked my furniture up, and then just dumped everything back in. Que the heart palpitations and stress I mentioned earlier. This chaos has been our living arrangement for about 2 weeks now and we still have on week left to go until the new carpet and tile goes in. Peace like a river flows into my soul just thinking about my house being put back together again. However, in the meantime, I have had to learn how to cope with this disaster zone.

Basically, to sum up what I’ve learned from this experience, is that I have a problem with control. I crave it. I need it in almost all areas of my life. I also have a problem with letting little things become big things. This last issue has stolen from me more moments of joy than I care to count. When my house is a mess, I feel out of control. When my kitchen floor needs swept, I can’t seem to just “be” in the present moment without fretting. How ridiculous is that? It got to the point where Robert would be sitting on the couch, popcorn in hand, movie ready to go and I would have to say, “Can you wait just a minute while I do the dishes? I can’t focus on the movie with that full sink taunting me!” (Yes, you all have permission to feel sorry for Robert now. How does he deal with me?) So while living in this constant state of mess for two weeks, I have had to make the choice: let it steal my joy each morning or realize that this is a little thing, life is still beautiful and messes are what it’s all about. I choose the latter.

You see, I’ve come to realize that messes are a good thing. Messes mean life is happening. Dust on the book shelf and un-vacuumed carpet means that we’ve been busy traveling and spending time with friends. Rooms with no flooring or furniture means we are fortunate enough to have new carpet and I should count my blessings. Dogs that shed hair constantly mean that I get to experience what unconditional, irrational love feels like each day that I spend with them. And a wet towel on the bed or dirty clothes (literally) right beside the hamper, but not in it, mean that I have an incredibly hard working husband that still chooses to love me even when I act like a psychopath.

Life is not about having control over every little thing. It is not about having the perfect home with nothing out of place. How boring would that be? Life is about the mess. Life IS a mess. And I’m glad I finally learned to embrace it. 

Katherine Kring

My name is Katherine Kring, although most people call me Kaile. You can blame my parents for the confusing two name situation. I was born in Lincoln, NE and raised in Minden, a small farming community in central Nebraska. I have adorably, in love parents and two siblings, one older brother and one younger sister. Growing up it was apparent that I was kind of the odd man out. Both of my siblings are very blonde, athletic and competitive...and then there's me. I enjoy singing, theater, speech, writing, and reading. And unfortunately, do not have blonde hair. After high school, I ventured off to the big city of Omaha, NE where my, then boyfriend, was stationed with the Airforce (He is now my Airforce husband and I have since followed him to Ohio.) I attended Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing and Allied Health in Omaha and pursued a career in Respiratory Care. I now get to have the initials RRT after my name because I am officially a Registered Respiratory Therapist. My hubby and I live in Ohio with our two crazy, hyper dogs. We love to binge watch netflix, go antiquing, and travel. I also love my Lord, Jesus Christ and enjoy attending our church and reading my bible.