Saturday, October 30, 2010

The messiness of life....

is nothing compared to the messiness of grief. I find myself irritated with those people who continue to compare the two as though apples were figs and oranges were pomegranates.

Life's messes, to name a few, are laundry, menus, yard work, school and grocery shopping. Life's messiness extends into relationships with children, spouses and friends. Life and its messes is not an indictment of how we live our lives, though it can be. Life being messy is more an observation of the truth that plain living is less a tidy endeavor and more like walking through a field of wet, recently mowed grass. Not mud, but not fields o'poppies either.

Now imagine trying to do your laundry and coming across your dead loved one's t-shirt. Or trying to figure out what to cook and thinking of the menu items you will not be buying this grocery trip. Think about the messiness of looking out at a yard where a special tree was planted so that your child could enjoy the shade of a swing--a child that is no longer there. Work through the school work with your children still in the home and read their spelling sentences which contain reference after reference to the sibling not at home.

All those relationships which can be messy in the best of times take on a twisted dimension in the worst of times. Things said that never irritated before do so now. Hugs sought that are meant for comfort only stroke painful nerves. And everything said or heard is analyzed for deep seated meaning leaving the analyzer and analyzee exhausted.

When life is messy, it takes time, sometimes lots of time, to reach a spot of unmessy so that you can breathe without dust and find the top of your kitchen counter. When life is messy grief, it takes sometimes years of time, to reach a spot of unmessy so that you can breathe without gasps.

If you're trying to come alongside someone wedged in a mess of life, be willing to help, truly help with the mess instead of thinking about how neat your kitchen counters are. No one needs that. No one wants Martha peering into their linen closet. Besides, you may just discover a real pearl under and in all of the mess. Like the heart of authenticity for the truth that life is plain messy.


  1. "Those who dive in the sea of affliction bring up rare pearls." -Charles Spurgeon

    Facing grief head-on feels like a choking dive into the dust of death itself. It's the only way to go, though, lest we wallow in bitterness and self-pity. Those who haven't experienced it don't understand our grief, not necessarily because they don't care, but because grief is a learn-as-you-grieve experience. I think many of us don't grieve deeply enough. We stop at feeling sorry for ourselves and the loved one who died. We need to go further, leaning hard on the Cross and searching out the suffering of Christ. Only then can we understand our own suffering (and sin), and then be able to come alongside someone else to offer the same comfort with which we've been comforted. It's messy for sure, but well worth finding the rare pearl who is our Savior. The thing we all have in common---regardless of what grief or burden or sin---is our desperate need for Christ and the remedy we find in Him.