Home Forums Noticings… 201216 – Bless This Mess

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    December 16, 2020

    It’s good to have a special spot set aside for prayer and reflection. Mine is in my basement in what could best be called a rec room – but during Covidtide it has evolved into much more. This morning as I was journaling I looked up and took in the landscape of the room. On the far right of my vista are tools of home-making, then moving left there are exercise machines (well used, not clothes racks!), then my makeshift office, then my guitars, and finally a fireplace keeping me toasty warm. Before me there are signs of love, health, work, creativity, and comfort. It’s really quite lovely when I take the time to stop and notice.

    Behind me is another story. I sit where I do because I like looking out on what I see. Behind me, however, is a towering mess of stuff. When I sit and pray and write I can’t see it – but I know it’s there. It’s always there. Looming. I see it when I turn around. I have to walk through it to enter and exit my space. Frankly, it’s not even mostly my stuff! It’s mostly the residue of two adult children coming and going from living here and not yet fully launched into their own spaces where they can take their stuff and have it loom in their basements!

    I find it quite unsightly, and I wish it wasn’t there, but I don’t really feel bad about my mess. It’s part of life. I prefer to look at the good stuff, but accepting that there’s bad stuff too is important. Everybody has messy corners in their worlds! Everybody! And if I completed my morning view with true panoramic vision I’d go through love, health, work, creativity, comfort, and messiness. That feels like a more complete picture than the idyllic one my foolish brain tells me I should have – one with no mess. Can you even imagine a life without mess? I can’t. And I don’t think I’d want to. It’s part of my humanity.

    It is into such a mess that the light of the world is born. Not to swoop in and magically clean away all our messes – but to help us perceive our reality more fully. To help us more vividly and clearly notice and embrace how deeply immersed in love, and health, and work, and creativity, and comfort we already are in so many ways. And to help us understand our messes – and yes, to clean them up as best we’re able. As the saying goes, “Bless this mess!”

    In the midst of this pandemic everything can feel a bit off – a bit of a mess – including Christmas! But the mess is only part of the story. We ought not deny or ignore it, but neither should we obsess about it. Beyond, through, and above the mess are the love, health, work, creativity, and warmth that bless us so richly. Come, light of the world. Help me notice.

    Rev. Larry
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