I’d love to tell you I am an amazing cook. I’m not. Not even close. But when it comes to the mess in the kitchen, I am 110% the source behind creating it. I made waffles for dinner and had half the batter on the counter and half the mix on the floor, before I ever thought of adding the eggs and starting to stir. Here’s the good news: I don’t cook that often. Who am I kidding? I never cook. I bake. Sometimes.
As I am making waffles for dinner (tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, should have probably made pancakes, but, I wanted waffles) and blueberry muffins for breakfast, I realize something about myself: I am utterly incapable of doing one thing at a time. I was about to make rice krispie treats, too. Seriously? Who is going to eat these baked goods now that everyone is giving up all the good stuff to make peace with the fact that Lent begins tomorrow. Giving something up, who came up with this idea anyway? Yes, I am asking.
Ashes, ashes, we all fall…down.
Oh. Yeah. Lent begins tomorrow.
…says the pastor.
…Not currently serving a local church.
Lent begins tomorrow and all the discipline that comes with Lent is escaping me right now. I told a friend tonight I think I have idea a.d.d.
I corrected myself. It’s simply a.d.d. Focus is currently lacking this season in my life. So, here I am, three days into writing 500 words every day. And it’s 9:15 pm. And I’m just getting started. Now hear this:
I refuse to fail on the third day.
The Third Day
No, failing on the third day isn’t an option. That might be the worst start to observing a “Holy Lent” on the face of the planet by a pastor.
Third day failure is not an option for Jesus. So, it’s not an option for me.
Because as ashes are put on foreheads tomorrow, as dishes are cleaned up, as dust settles, what I am reminded us in the midst of the messiness of this thing we call life, there is always a third way…and the third day.
The mess in my kitchen tonight reminds me that good things can come from great messes. It also reminds me that a season in life is just that, a season. Those seasons used to last years. Right now they seem to come and go a week, a day, or an hour at a time. I’m not sure if it is where I am in life or how I am connected to people in life.
But, it is messy.
So I stand in the mess. What other choice do I have? I embrace it, jump into it, and try to breathe life into it. Sometimes I search for the pearl in the midst of a great mess. Sometimes that searching is simply reminding people (ummm, myself included) who are also in the mess with me that new life comes from the mess. New possibilities emerge. New hope is coming.
Are there moments I feel like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown? Sure. Are there moments I wonder what in the world is going on? You better believe it. Are there moments I want everything in order? Yes. Are there moments I throw my hands up and say, “I quit.” Sure.
And then I get right back in the mess.
Because I realize I wouldn’t be living if there wasn’t dust getting kicked up, things getting spilled, and friends and family living out their own messes and inviting me to join in the fun. So maybe it isn’t a mess. Maybe its a stage, a canvas, a lens through which I’ve been given a chance to create. One of the greatest gifts you and I have been given is the ability to create. Being one of God’s apprentices in this creating gig is a pretty amazing opportunity.
As we remember tomorrow that we are dust, and to dust we shall return, I will also remember, it is in that dirt that the potter’s hand begins to mold and shape us. It is also the place that Jesus sent us a message…and we have no idea what it said. It is in the dust that we journey to get to a new place.
So dream, create, wonder, and most of all, live in the mess. Sooner or later, the counters will be clean, the kitchen in order, and the amazing scent of baked goods will vanish.
In the midst of it all, one thing remains: the love of God I know in Jesus Christ and the power that comes in sharing that love with others. Maybe all I really need to remember and remind you of is this:
God bless the mess.
And may God call it good.