I was cleaning today.
And Sterling came in and poured himself a very full glass of water.
And then spilled it all over the floor.
I felt frustrated, like messes were happening faster than I could clean them. I felt resentment well up inside me at the thought that I was responsible for cleaning everyone’s messes.
And then a thought came.
Perhaps this is not my mess to own.
I guided Sterling to a towel and then to the mess where he happily wiped the water clean.
And the floor shone.
And I realized it at that moment –
what a mess is
A part of the journey
And it is the process of making clean, re-righting,
that is as important as the exploring and creating that made the mess,
as important as the awareness of the mess.
We must own each part.
If in the creating we feel our mastery, it is in the mess we feel our vulnerability, our imperfection. In this ordinary kitchen of mine, looking at water spilled across the floor, feeling the tiredness of another mess, and then seeing little hands re-new that linoleum, I see the entire mythology of our human journey unfolding.
Paradise, The Fall, Redemption.
We could turn away from our imperfection, we could refuse to see it because it feels too painful, makes us feel too open, too vulnerable.
Or we could drown in the mess, in our inability to achieve Goodness. We could wear our dirt as a badge of inadequacy and fallibility. We could construct a garment of unworthiness and never again gaze at the stars and dream…
But then we will never reap what we have sown, and there are so many gifts in the harvest.
I have been learning a new skill. Yesterday, I was sure I was going to master sewing this pair of pants. I had made all the mistakes, learned all the parts. This was going to finally work easily, smoothly, masterfully. A garment of worthiness for a very worthy little soul.
And it didn’t. Another mistake. A different one that I had not even been able to foresee. It seemed to manifest out of the blue. And I felt crushed. All that time, all that effort, all that fabric. For nothing. I threw the little pair of pants into the basket and vowed I was done.
I would leave it.
A little pair of pants with roots deep in the river of human experience, a touchstone into the shadows of failure,
Begging me to see this moment for what it was,
When we Fall, what do we do?
Those pants, having been thrown angrily aside just moments before, started to take a different form. I began to see all the beautiful seams and the intentions and love that went into that little pair of pants made my a mother’s hands and heart.
And I could not just throw that away.
They could be redeemed.
I could be redeemed.
From this place of imperfection, utter vulnerability at the realization of the magnitude of imperfection,
from this place of giving up
New Hope was born.
If in the mess we are broken, it is in the cleaning we are remade.
So I cut
And I sewed
I began to wipe clean.
And I watched as new pants were made.
A new me made.