Today, this ordinary day that follows a day so fraught with painful memories for so many, is a reminder of the Messy Beautiful.
The Messy Beautiful is just a bizarre phrase that has been stuck in my mind lately. I don’t know if I made it up or someone else did. I only know that it describes life perfectly for me today.
I’m exhausted this morning. I stay exhausted these days, and I hope that will pass. But, it won’t, not entirely. It won’t entirely pass. Because life is Messy Beautiful.
This weekend was fun. I saw my great-niece and great-nephew, and their parents, and I don’t get to see them often. The Beautiful part. They are moving closer to me, and my gain is someone else’s loss. The Messy part.
It was my church’s fall kick off weekend. The place was buzzing with life, which is Beautiful. The outside of the campus is ripped up for construction. Messy. There was a cool, messy-looking tribute to 9-11 victims near the construction site on campus. Messy and Beautiful.
I’ve spent the last few months finding out a few new things about myself: 1) I’m South American (and in fact a full one-quarter indigenous South American), not Scottish; 2) I don’t have just two brothers, as I’ve believed for lo, these 49 years, but instead I have a total of ten siblings (five brothers and five sisters); 3) my biological dad is not who I believed he was. Messy. Messy. Messy. And slowly, Beautiful.
I love to write and blog, but my new job means that I can’t write about it much, as attorney work is confidential (though not in a sensational way at all, so you aren’t missing anything juicy) and my new family structure is not fully known by all who need to know, so that is a topic I have to tread at a high level without too many details right now. I have to be more thoughtful about what I write, which is probably best for the product and the producer. That means my writing schedule is erratic. Messy. Beautiful.
It’s the season of back to school, for me, with a senior in high school and a senior in college. It’s the season of college visits, job offers for college grads, budgeting, and planning. Next year, empty nest. Messy. Beautiful? Yes, probably, though the jury is still out on that one.
My dear grandmother, 91, is alive though not too cognizant of her surroundings. She doesn’t know she has lost a child, which is Messy, but also Beautiful that she is spared that knowledge on this side of life. She also doesn’t know she has lost a great-great grandchild. Same. She doesn’t know my paternity saga and she doesn’t know of the deep division in the world today around race and culture and faith. That, my friends, is Beautiful.
And today I begin a week of waiting for final DNA results to see if the testing is even clear enough to show I am half siblings with four of my half sisters (ruling out a father is easy; ruling one in when the father is not available for testing, the siblings have a different mother than I, and none of the mothers are available for testing, is VERY MESSY). And when we get those results back? Maybe I’ll have solid proof of what I already know to be true (Beautiful), maybe I won’t (Messy), but either way, we will still be waiting on results for an older brother I have just recently contacted (Messy and Beautiful).
Oh, and finding a sibling on Facebook at age 49 and staring at a profile picture, realizing you are staring in a mirror? So Messy. So Beautiful.
One of my favorite heroes in Scripture is Joseph of the Old Testament. There was a Messy, Beautiful life, with crazy family twists, intrigue, political power, righteousness, and even temptation thrown in. I keep reminding myself, if Joseph can do it, you can weather this messiness as well.
Joseph, however, didn’t have to keep a blog post to 500 words. Failed again on that one.
My favorite Bible verse begins “Count it all joy!” I say that, often snarkily, when stuff happens that is, frankly, super annoying to me. But it is a reminder for me that life is not coincidental. Life is not a hodge-podge of acts or failures to act randomly occurring like dive-bombs of mosquitoes on a hot summer night. No, it’s intentional encounters with messy events that produce something, either hopelessness and cynicism or hopefulness and optimism.
You pick. You pick how you will react to the encounters of life.
Really, you get to pick.
Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.