Reflections on a Mess


Beside my favourite chair is a scrambled pile of books littering the floor. There’s the current issue of a home decorating magazine, my notebook of computer jottings (and a pen to jot down a new website password), a writing magazine, my daily journal and a second pen, a book I’m reading for review purposes, a novel I’ve just finished and one that I’m about to start. You don’t want to see the coffee table above. What a mess!

On the opposite side of my chair there are dog toys scattered on the carpet in a line leading to a bin overflowing with squeaky things, chew bones, stuffies and toss ‘n tug toys.

The kitchen counter has a loaf of bread cooling, empty coffee mugs, and a sticky note reminding us to phone a friend because today is her birthday.

The words of an old book title pop into my head: “Bless This Mess, and Other Prayers” by Jo Carr and Imogene Sorley. I’m sure it was written with my home in mind. Not every room is this messy, but in its various crannies there is always something either leftover from a previous activity or waiting for attention.

Messes like this used to frustrate me, whether they were mine or someone else’s. I remember telling my children, “When you’ve finished playing with that, put it away before you take out something else.” They didn’t often do it, and now I don’t take my own advice.

Oh, at the end of the day I’ll gather up the piles and redistribute them elsewhere. In the morning before they accumulate again, I’ll sit cradling God’s word and whispering my thankfulness for the joy that everyday messes represent. For friends, family and beloved pets, activities and the health to pursue them, for books and the time to read and write. For my life, even when it, too, feels messy.

Life is full of rules and regimentation. Home is where I live in between the structure of other pursuits. Home is where I meet the many facets of who I am, face to face, where I unwrap the kernel of me from its façade and let it out to breathe.

Bless this mess, Lord.

What are you especially grateful for today?



Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

16 thoughts on “Reflections on a Mess

  1. Oh, you are a woman after my heart. I especially love that last sentence.

    And thanks for reminding me to be grateful for the clutter that growing and healthy children create–even grandgirls.

    And it’s hard today to not be grateful simply for family and food and shelter when I consider the heartache and devastation in Japan.

  2. I agree with Sandra about seeing the devastation in Japan and being grateful for what I have. I have such a hard time with clutter (it stresses my mind out . . . need for serenity even in my house) and then I see the upheaval and terror and a land with “clutter” of a far different kind. I can take an hour and set my house straight; Japan will take years to recover. I hope many of us will be grateful and give generously (out of a grateful heart!) to help.

  3. I tend to clean in bursts, when I can’t take the clutter. I’m at that point with my desk today.

    I’m especially thankful for God’s mercies being new every morning. 🙂

  4. Living is messy. I am reminded of it every time I cook. Like you, I get up and leave my books and articles in use during the day, but those dishes I must clean up. Just like the other messes you describe, there is great blessing embedded in the thought of them.

    I love the way you describe home: “Home is where I meet the many facets of who I am, face to face, where I unwrap the kernel of me from its façade and let it out to breathe.” You have discovered the beauty of living, relaxing, and being grateful for all that we have. Thank you for the reminder.

  5. These don’t look all that messy to me, dear!

    I’m thankful for a husband who’s my hero, and a wonderful job to go to each day. Also for my writing/speaking career, which God is causing to blossom. He is so sweet.

  6. Since my post from last night was to bemoan the muck and mire of my current state of mind … I am most grateful that today I woke up, took one look at the sun, took a deep breath and said Thank Your for all of this and a chance to have another day to do better 🙂

  7. Carol, you are my kind of gal. I think I’ll just ask the Lord to “bless my mess,” until I can get it all organized.

    What kind of dog do you have?

    Grateful? Too many to count, but one is meeting lovely people like you I would otherwise never get to know.

    Thanks for stopping by my place. 🙂

  8. I’m appreciating all your feedback this morning. I like Carol Ann’s comment that “living is messy”… so true! And I relate to Erica’s thankfulness “for God’s mercies being new every morning.”

    Karen, after 35 years of breeding, training, showing and loving multiple Shelties, we currently have a Labrador Retriever, which is the breed I grew up with.

  9. Love the pictures — none of which can begin to compare with my mess. I’d need a crew of ten and thirty days consistent labor just to bring some disorder into the chaos. But I’m grateful for it all – messy as it is. Especially the family attached.

  10. I had to smile at the picture of the stack beside your chair. It looks exactly like mine! I am going upstairs to tuck my daughter in, and I will smile at the mess that is her room. Thanks for a whole new way to look at the mess made by a little girl who has thoroughly enjoyed herself.

  11. I’m not gonna fit in well today. I (we) can’t stand anything out of place – ever. When people visit us at home, it’s not unusual for them to say “it looks like no one lives here.” A few weeks back (at our REAL home), Deb called someone to give her a price to clean the blinds (they’re made of wood). He inspected them all & said – “Lady, are you crazy? There’s nothin’ to clean!”

    But I am a thankful person by nature. Now you’ll hafta excuse me, I gotta put this coffee cup in the dishwasher.

  12. Judith – I’ll bet you recognized one of those books in my pile, too.
    Jodie – I suspect most writers have stacks of books they can point to! It must be part of the passion. I like mine neatly on the shelf, but they just won’t stay there. LOL
    Dave – Now that you mention it, I do seem to remember a long ago comment about OCD and scrubbing garage floors clean. 😉 Being neat’s not a bad thing.

  13. Today I am most grateful to have my daughter and grand daughter visiting.

    I learned a long time ago not to worry about insignificant things, and to place things in order of their importance to me. I used to say that when I reached the end of my days here on earth, I didn’t want to be only remembered for how neat and tidy I was.

    1. Laura, I like your priorities! And have a wonderful visit with your daughter and granddaughter. I’m looking forward to visits from precious family over the next few weeks, too.

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