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?