by Mike Friesen
Steve’s note: I actually like trying to fix messes. Sometimes this is a gift. Other times, it’s really not. Mikey is a great friend, someone who is teaching me to embrace some of my messiness, and the messiness of others. I love his post below. You can follow Mike on twitter here.
I’ve got a friend. He’s an organized, perfectionistic, neat freak. He’s one of the best guys I know. I, on the other hand, am much closer to the opposite. I am a mess-making machine.
I have this tiny little red truck. There’s very little space in it, so things often find a way on the floor. My friend and I will often drive to things like sporting events and watch them. When he rides in my truck, you can tell that this is not his preference, but he just makes fun of me and things are all good.
I, on the other hand, am a bit of a hygiene phobic person. I am constantly washing my hands. I wear cologne. I always have deodorant around. I hate foul smells. My friend, on the other hand, has a bad case of flatulence. He farts everywhere, all the time. And, his smarts smell bad!
Mess is an interesting thing. Because, my mess is so natural to me that it doesn’t bother me. I can live with MY MESS. However, when someone cleans up my mess, it bothers me because even before, I knew where everything was. Now that it’s clean, I don’t know where anything is.
My friend, after he farts just jokes. He says things like, “Everyone likes their own brand.” Or, he just remarks that he doesn’t think that they smell that bad.
Mess is an interesting thing because we learn how to live with our messy selves. We may not like it sometimes but we learn how to live with it. But, when someone introduces us to their mess, we’re offended, or we’re freaked out. We don’t know what to do with other people’s messes.
We are a people who make patterns and order out of our lives. We live our lives in routines and structures. We have an established way of how things are meant to go. And, when someone breaks that, it’s painful. It brings anxiety. It brings frustration. When someone tells us something vulnerable, we don’t always know what to do or what to say. I know how to cope and manage the garbage going on in my life but I do not always know how to cope and manage the garbage going on in other people’s lives.
Jesus has this very interesting section in the Gospel of Matthew called the Beatitudes; some of them go like this,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
It’s almost like Jesus is saying to us, “Blessed are those whose lives are in disorder.” And, the blessing of disorder is this. When we can learn to live in disorder beautifully, which means to trust, love, forgive, be patient, to treat others well, etc…, in our disorder, blessed are you because life is always going to be messy. People are going to die. We are going to change jobs. We are going to go seasons where finances are thin. People will betray us. Friends will move. Friends will get married. We will get divorced. Our kids do something stupid. Kids are born out of wedlock. There are so many things in life that can go wrong. Blessed are us who can live in disorder and surrender to it. Blessed are us who are in disorder and we don’t have to fight to maintain our order. Blessed are us who can accept our friends messy truck. Blessed are us who can accept our friends smelly farts. Blessed are us who can live with grace and extend grace to lives that are in disorder.