It was not even ten steps into my Saturday morning run before my foot hit the ice and I ungraciously ended up in a pile on the pavement, with my knee bleeding and looking like that of a 7 year old boy’s, my favourite running leggings ripped (with the knowledge I couldn’t even buy another pair – a whole other story), sobbing uncontrollably. It summed up the week that had gone before.
Half an hour later as the sobbing subsided I asked her “Is there ever going to be a time when life doesn’t feel messy?” I knew what her answer was before the words left her mouth but I wanted her to tell me that it was possible because actually right in that moment the mess hurt (as did my knee), the mess had broken my heart and I wanted to run as far away from it as I could (although there would be no running for a while given the pain my knee was in). I wanted to hide from the world for a bit and come out again when the mess was gone.
Was it only me that got into these ridiculous messes? Is it because I am far too heart led and emotion fuelled? Did I do something wrong? Probably the answer to some extent is “YES” to all of those questions but I am me and those pesky emotions are hard wired into me.
Then there it was again that “tension” word. The tension I couldn’t know love without mess. I couldn’t enjoy relationship without mess. I couldn’t take risks, be brave and jump into adventures without mess. Family couldn’t exist without mess. And friendships too they come with their fair share. Mess is part of it all.
I can’t fully engage and live my life without mess. FACT. TRUTH. REALITY. And I hate it and love it all at the same time.
Once I had stripped back the emotions and gained some perspective I realised again that mess is inevitable, and part of the human condition – although I am still pretty convinced that those blessed with more control of their feelings are slightly less prone to so many messes or maybe they just look different!
We are all so different, we all have our own unique passions, oddities, experiences, losses, loves, prejudices, struggles, insecurities – we all come with so much stuff, a crazy mix of the good and the bad that actually when we come together to do life as family, as friends, as colleagues, neighbours the mess is not going to be far behind.
Then I read the words of Brene Brown (I love Brene!), in her book, Rising Strong, that actually maybe there is magic in the mess. MAGIC IN THE MESS!!!! Could that really be the case?
So where was this magic? It didn’t take me long to recognise it.
It was right there in those arms that hold you as the tears stream down your face, as you heart breaks, or in those people who rant and rage for you, who voice all the frustrations and questions that perhaps you don’t dare utter out loud. Its in that hand on the small of your back in the midst of a tough moment, or a look across the room full of people that says I have got your back, I am for you.
It’s in those relationships that had been forged so deeply in the midst of the mess, where we have carried each other, fought for each other, been on our knees crying out for each other – that mess which meant safe places were created, home was formed, where acceptance and unconditional love grew despite of and maybe because of each other’s vulnerabilities, where the real belly aching laughter happens.
It’s in those lessons learnt, the characters that have been formed, in the strength, compassion and patience that has somehow found their way through the rubble. In the humility and vulnerability of hearts laid bare.
Most of all it’s in the safety of the father’s arms which again and again say “its all going to be ok”, that tell us to lean in tight and let him sort it out. Those arms that wrap round you as wrestle and tantrum never letting go but patiently waiting until there is no more fight left.
I’ve seen that magic so many times in my life and in the lives of others.
I was able to go and wash my bloody and bruised knee knowing it was going to scab and probably be uncomfortable for a while but that it would heal. But something much bigger happened in my heart that morning – I realised I didn’t need to wrestle as I maybe would have done in the past, I didn’t want to wrestle. I simply wanted to be held by my heavenly father, to let him have the mess and sadness and over and over I have simply prayed “please bring something beautiful from the mess.”
I have no idea what that beautiful will look like but I am confident it will come and I am pretty sure Brene is right that there is always magic to be found in the mess if we look hard enough.