The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Thursday, April 30, 2015

messy places and grace

I've noticed that in life there are a lot of loose ends.  Stuff ... doesn't wrap up.  Most of the time there is no closure.  Where did the idea of "closure" come from anyway?  I mean , I am partially who/how I am because of life's events and how I navigated/continue to navigate them.   The thing (one of the many things) I love about being almost 60 is the perspective that time on task affords.  I like the perspective, and I like the subtle changes that life tweaks in to those perceptions.  I like that we can learn, rethink, and maybe even settle in to a more graceful attitude.  I like it when I see grace in action around me.  I'm really amazed and so very thankful for those tiny glimpses of God's love in action.  He keeps on using our life stuff to benefit us it seems.  We don't get closure because it seems like we keep on learning from previous events - some of them messes or "near messes".

That really is what I'm thinking about today ... messes.  But first this:  You can barely see him in this shot, but that is a fox.  He, or more probably she, sauntered across the street not more then 50 feet ahead of us.  This is my neighborhood of mostly heavily wooded one acre lots.  New homes are going up on a large parcel which was near the creek and relatively undisturbed.  Those hand rails step down to a tiny overflow branch of the main creek which zigzags through here.  This has been a great place for walking.  I've loved the birds especially ... and the deer are cool ... foxes and coyote less so.

So ... messes.  You really don't know mess until you start the moving process.  That's my new "epiphany".  It's really a multi-layered thing.

We have decided that our time here really is winding down.  Bittersweet isn't the right word because none of it is bitter.  I have loved raising my kids, walking my dog and flying here.  It's been a good place.  And ... the people are good people.  I'll miss seeing faces familiar and dear.  Like this ... the mailman.  He has been the mailman the entire time we've lived here.  Last year, just out of the blue, he gifted me with a handmade wooded cross (imperfect, more on that later) for reasons unknown to me ... he said it was just on his heart to do so.  I've already packed the cross or I'd snap a picture of it real quick for you.

Messes.  Two things need to happen in the house.  I have a few "loose ends", unfinished (and some un-begun) maintenance to do ... plus, this came as a bit of a shocker, being away as much as I was last year encouraged messes to accumulate!  Dormant messes, like the layer of dust perched atop the bedroom drapes at ceiling level.  I re-painted that room (messy) a couple weeks ago and in the process the drapes and rods came down (messy) and ... they were really bad ... after washing and the laborious effort of ironing and rehanging them I thought they looked nice.

A few years ago I put a beautiful new cork floor in the master bath ... but I hesitated on how to properly seal the seam where cork meets tub.  That created a mess.  Eventually it was a big mess and had to be pulled before showing our home for sale.  There's that mess near where I rest and in the rest of the house boxes are stacked in every room as I begin to cull through and pack.  Some boxes which are not going with us and are left open as we decide on rummage sale or Salvation Army ... some boxes are taped shut and labeled as carefully as I do things (maybe overdo things).  I'm finding that I just thought I didn't need my wok ... it's crazy (and feels extra messy because I tend to be organized). The bathroom floor is a smaller mess setting in the larger mess.

Here are the new floor tiles.  My very smart husband is "learning" exactly how to install these.  He has been perfecting his technique over the past few weeks ... starting with the place in the bathroom where the toilet connects to the drainage pipe.  Yeah ... no working toilet in there for the last little while and because this is a special weekend in our family we have plans to be away for the next few days ... so ...most generous time estimate of getting the toilet back in looks like a couple of weeks (to me).  I don't really care about the inconvenience of being down a toilet in the house.  What I don't like is ... the dust from the do-overs.  He is getting more thin set squishing up through the voids between the mosaic pieces then he thinks is advisable.  Once that dries to his dissatisfaction he cleans it out with a scrapper and an air compressor (with the help of José ... Cuervo that is, or more accurately, Hornitos).  The dust is everywhere.  I still had important girl stuff out on the counter when the dust started swirling in there ... the door way has remained open through out this process and I fear for the tops of my drapes as I sweep and mop, dust furniture and lamps, rewash bedding ... it's a mess.  A big mess.  And ... well ... it's a mess.  Last night as I lay in bed wondering if "that smell" could be pervading from the open floor drain (I put a plastic lid on it a few days ago) I started thinking about messes.
My messes.
The messes I may want to help make ... messes avoided by God's grace alone ... messes that people who care for me have directed me around rather then through ... those kind of messes.
Sin messes maybe.
It's funny how we are ... we really sometimes do want to flirt around with making and enjoying messes even when we know messes are messy ... messier then they could possibly be worth.  It seems best to reserve room in your life for the unavoidable messes rather then knowingly creating them.
I was thinking about that within the context of the bathroom tile mess ... not my mess. (A mess I appreciate, truly I do.  Thank you for fixing the floor so beautifully ... so excellently. This isn't about that ... that just helped me see this.)  Not my mess, but a mess I am "near".  The entire environment I am in seems to be excessively messy ... as messy as a move.  As messy as living in a storage zone ... as messy as between here and there.  But ... that with the dust mess ... that's what I'm thinking about.  Someone near me is "fixing" a mess and that's messy business.  The dust from their mess settles on my stuff.  The dust from their mess becomes my mess.

When I do wrong, make messes ... the mess makes messes for people who are near my mess.  If my mess is sin ... my sin (my choice to sin) affects the people near me (near me and my mess).  And this ... I'm not participating in the bathroom tile mess.  I am stirring clear.  But ... the fallout from that mess is very much something that I deal with, something that at very least affects my space to do life in.

I think it is interesting that people say "I'm not hurting anyone 'cept myself (with my messes)."  Last night I thought it must be grace which makes the messiness of figuring out how to best behave ... or the messes created when we don't behave well ...  grace must be the secret super power which makes escaping or enduring the messiness of life possible .

So - Sometimes as we "fix" messes we make other messes (and possibly even want to make what we know will be other messes).  It's really good to have tolerance for one an other's messiness.  It's amazingly cool that we can help each other not to make messes.  It's neat when the residue from our fellow's messes can be swept up fairly easily.  It's great that grace abounds in messy places.

It's amazing to see grace in action(s).


gretchenjoanna said...

It's really wonderful that you can take time to write during this hectic time - I know *I* would need to write, in order not to freak out. Closure? I don't think so, unless you want to cut out your heart.

DeAnn said...

You know how some people are just tender hearted and they try to figure out how to "protect" themselves from life ... and in doing so become less themselves? It's hard to find the place/way to give your heart a rest without messing up something else.

I think as we journey along through our time it's really good to trust/believe what God says and demonstrates about himself ... among which is the idea that "He's got this" ... including a faint heart. I have pushed some of my stuff aside thinking (knowing) that how "this" affects me is not the priority right now (then). Now ... as I sort through the stuff of my life, both actually and metaphorically, I just wish there could be a spa day ... a spa day for my body and my heart, but mostly for my heart. I just don't know how to do that.