Abundant mess

It’s around 10am and we are barreling into the house after a morning trip to the YMCA. The boys are hungry; they’re rattling the door of the snack cabinet and whining. I mentally calculate which foods will equal the least amount of mess, settling on rice Chex and blueberries. I get the boys situated in their high chairs, not bothering with bibs.

In under five minutes there is a watercolor of blueberry pulp covering their trays and a fine dust of ground up Chex cereal on the kitchen floor. I can feel a low simmer of anxiety start to build, then quickly rise to a boil as I berate myself for getting upset over something so trivial. I have two happy and healthy children, who cares if their morning snack gets a little messy? I do, apparently.

Physical mess and clutter feels like just one more thing with kids that I cannot control. Is it so much to ask that just one snack of the day would be quiet and mess-free? (Answer: yes.) I repeat to myself what has become somewhat of a mantra these days: A messy house is a sign of life. A messy house is a sign of life. A messy house is a sign of life.

Life, life, life. I love the verse where Jesus tells us he came to bring life, and life more abundant. What he didn’t add, probably because people like me would run for cover, is that life also brings mess. Physical, emotional, and spiritual mess. When we accept the offer of abundant life here on earth, we also receive an abundant mess to go along with it. That’s just part of the deal. It’s part of what we have to work through as humans, on a divine assignment to bring order from chaos and beauty from ashes while we live in the “already, but not yet.”

Maybe when I get to heaven I’ll ask God why exactly boys had to be that messy. Why we couldn’t have had a few days here and there of putting food into mouths instead of on floors. Or maybe by then I won’t care. Either way, today I’m choosing to overlook the avocado fingerprints on the wall and rejoice in the fact that my house is full of life. Life, and mess, more abundant.

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