We were laughing as we often do. Eric telling John about something I’d written and John cringed and said, “that’s messy”. I stood defiant as I replied, “I’m messy.”
There was one thing mama didn’t tolerate and that was a mess. My hair was cut in the short pixie until mid way through grade school because mama wanted it neat. I was allowed to let it grow only with the understanding it would be kept from hanging in my face. (You can’t imagine the compulsive ways that manifest itself).
Neat, uncluttered, organized, these are the things that help me breathe comfortably and feel accomplished. I’ve conquered our stuff!
But life is messy because fear and pride can’t be hidden away for long. Selfishness and self-pity, arrogance and defiance cannot be dusted and tucked inside a basket on the shelf.
At five, our granddaughter lines up her toys. They are in a neat row and we smile and wonder if these are tendencies being revealed. DNA from great-grammy?
There are no neat rows for addiction and relapse and turning away from the Beauty and Love that chases us all. There is no way to clean up Alzheimer’s and the guilt and long grief it brings to families. All we can do is muddle through the mess trying to clear a space for love.
There is no way to avoid living a messy life when you believe the One who turns life upside down when he uses addicts to teach this church girl and expose the mess I thought was so well-ordered. When he takes my words, rehearsed and regurgitated from years of listening but seldom learning, and like a boomerang they come back at me, this time filtered through the lens of grace and I know I am the mess.
I’m finding the best way is to live through our mess together. I’m finding the mess has always been me. Hair brushed back out of my face, books all neat on the shelf and bed made first thing each morning makes me neat. Compulsive a bit or maybe I can say I’m just honoring mama. Neat but choosing to walk in the mess of service just like she did. Choosing to love others right in their mess because He still loves me in mine.
This is an updated post to the original published in 2013 and part of the Woman2Woman link up.