The best things in life are messy.
It fills your sink with dishes: pots encrusted with stuck-on cheese, ramekins covered in various sauces. It covers your stovetop with oil and your table with crumbs. It fills your trash with rinds and trimmings and the green beans that didn’t make the cut. But if you want a meal dripping with delicious fats and fresh produce that bursts in your mouth – you must accept the mess.
They cover your hearth (and floor) with kindling and bark and soot. They produce heaps of ash. Gas fireplaces are infinitely cleaner, with flames that never pop and logs that never burn up. But if you want the smell and the crackle and the embers burning low – you must accept the mess.
Entertaining friends is messy.
Starting a business is messy.
Telling the truth is messy.
Marriage is messy. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health is really freaking messy.
Kids. God, have mercy. Kids are messy. Diapers and self-feeding and stomach viruses and upturned toy bins and potty training and fights and scraped knees and one thousand sippy cups melting in the back of your van is messy.
Hurts you can’t heal are messy. Crying during television commercials and on your way to work because every cell in your body is aching for that child - as if your insides would claw their way out to keep her safe and warm and loved.
Love is the messiest of all.
There is a Proverb that says, “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of an ox.”
Life is messy. It’s messy because it’s full.
I have dishes, laundry, spots on my carpet, and I’m in a hurry a lot of the time…
…because I have friends, and family, and a job I love, and three treasures that call me mom.
Please do not imagine that because I write this I am accepting of the mess. I am not. I am possibly the least Zen person I know. I handle stress by ignoring calls/texts/emails and forcing my kids to clean things. That behavior is, obviously, an attempt to reduce the noise of my outside world in hopes of finding peace on the inside. It's a real shame it doesn't work that way.
Here is what I need to remember when I begin to resent the mess:
I would choose the mess one thousand times. I’ll keep choosing the mess, forever, because with the mess comes abundance. With the dishes comes a Bolognese so rich and warm it has healing properties. With the laundry comes the love – the love that cracks your whole world right down the middle and fills it with light. With my mess comes Madeline’s spirit, Sam’s dimple, and Henry’s cheeks.
The goal of my life is not to arrive at the end of it as neatly as possible. The goal of my life is to love well. To be honest, humble, and to love people so sincerely that it shocks them.
Here’s to learning to love the mess because of what it brings into my life: all the best things.