empty / by Carey Pace

The other night we had finally sat down on our bed and had a chance to talk. Not talking the business of what needs to be done (I.e. the Comcast guy will be here tomorrow between 10 and 2, so you should have your computer set up so we can ensure its also working properly before he leaves), but just time to speak what's on one's heart or mind. 

He mentioned something about the new house that he wanted to do differently than how we used to do it. That glorious compromise that is marriage in which nothing is fully all my decision and nothing is fully all his. The evidence of your selfishness bubbles to the surface like protein bubbles on the top of pasta water, that if left unchecked spew over and make a grand mess. 

I wish I could remember now what that suggestion was. I know I agreed to either do it or give it a shot. I should probably ask him to remind me what I said yes to. But then I said, "you know what surprises me about this house that I like so much?"

He nonchalantly volleyed back a "what?" and I answered "that there are no pictures on the walls."

Folks, I wish I'd had my phone on the ready for a video. The expression of dumbfoundment, skepticism, hope, relief, and then utter joy is something I won't soon forget. In fact, his vehement shocked reaction is why my memory dumped whatever it was he suggested just prior. He manages to say "me too!!!!! Oh my god, I would NEVER have told you, but I am so relieved."

It was a profound moment. 

He really, really dislikes things feeling cluttered. And I'm so messy. I don't care for other people's clutter in my space - it makes me so feisty and antsy - but I myself am a tornado of clutter wherever I go. I need that freedom. The restriction to keep things in a state of perfection stifles my creativity. It's like I can be one or the other but not both simultaneously. And ultimately my heart needs creativity most. 

But he realized he liked the feel of these empty walls. And yet decided that what I wanted was more important than how he likes things best and was going to keep it to himself. Die to self, we have been called. Die to self, he does so frequently.

So the end of the story is, we have decided that less is more. And a side benefit is, this eliminates my problem of having to choose photos for the walls. The quantity I have is overwhelming and is why there were no new pictures in my house during the last five years.