Love, Life, Mess
Love. There are 28 definitions for love at dictionary.com. Is it a feeling or is it an emotion, or is it an action?
Life. Dictionary.com lists 35 definitions for life. It lists everything from existence to risking one’s life.
What I know about love and life can be summed up in one word, messy. Life is messy! Love is even messier! I hate mess and chaos and disorder! I repeatedly read that God is not a God of mess, He is a God of order, peace and calm and yet here I am in mess and chaos and disorder. I’m not just talking about physical mess. I’m talking about the four aspects of our human condition being a mess. How did I get here? Ironically as I write, this one thing keeps coming to mind “If life is a like a bowl of cherries why am I in the pits?” the title of a book I’ve never read.
I once read how life is not peaks and valleys. Our best times aren’t on the summit and our worst times aren’t in the deepest pits. Life instead, is like railroad tracks. One track is our best stuff, the other our worst, which rail you focus on is what your mood and outlook is. When I think about this analogy I imagine being on a railroad hand car.
I’m pumping with all my might through the twists and turns, ups and downs, on the two parallel tracks of life. Sometimes the track is easy and straight, others I’m pumping like mad to get up the hill, and yet others I’m traveling down a hill at the speed of light. At the bottom of the hill I find a very sharp curve. It’s here the car leans so far to one side or the other that it’s barely hanging on the track. That’s when I feel like I’m focusing on one track more than the other.
For several years now I’ve found that I’ve hit those sharp curves much more than I’ve enjoyed straightaways and therein lies the mess. I mean gravity and motion just takes over when you are whipping around those curves, everything on your car starts to slide or goes flying. How are you supposed to keep pumping, steer and hold onto all that stuff being pulled by the forces of motion?
Love makes life messier than it already is. Why is it when you love people, family, significant others, friends, whoever, some sort of pain has to be involved. Even if your entire life and relationship is perfect, which clearly it never is, one of you will feel the pain of loss through death. Unless of course you are both killed in some tragic accident which is highly unlikely. And, why is it the people we love the most, make us the craziest?! Isn’t the mess of what’s going on in the world enough to make us crazy? Do we have to add more crazy when it comes to loved ones and friends? Why is there so much drama in life? Obviously, I know this is the stuff life and stories are made of, and if we didn’t have drama or tragedies what would Shakespeare or Austin or Dickens have written about? I mean don’t they tell writers to write about what they know? Their experiences?
Am I here, standing in the middle of this vortex of emotions, ADD, loss, learning disabilities, strained relationships, broken stuff, anxiety, lack of funds, a messy house, arguments, clutter, and pain in order to gain experience? I long for peace and calm.
I feel as if I’m The Sorcerer's Apprentice and I have unleashed more than I can possible handle EVER, forget about at one time! I desperately want the sorcerer to come and rescue me, and yet I fear I’ve let him down or I’m going to get in trouble.
What am I supposed to learn? Is it all just for experience? What is my story, my opus? Somehow I feel that I’m missing out but I’m not quite sure on what. Is it living in the moment despite the mess, chaos, and pain? Is it accepting this is my calling with less complaining and more gratitude? I feel so ill-equipped, so inadequate most of the time. I would really like a handbook please! If hitchhikers can have a guide to the galaxy why can’t I have one to help me maneuver through these mines? I want to slow down, notice the coal or gold or gems as I pass by and stop the feeling of careening out of control.
We are heading into the second week of lent, I’m working very hard to spend time with God in the classroom of silence as Matthew Kelly says. Do you know how hard it is to find silence in a house with eight other people (several of which have ADD), two dogs and a cat? I reaffirm daily “I’ll do better today. I won’t lose my temper today. I’ll be more patient, kind, loving, fill in the blank.” And yet, at the end of the day I must once again apologize for my failures. I am trying, and as I say those words out loud I can only think of Yoda telling Luke to “do or do not there is no try”. Life isn’t like school, I’m pretty sure A’s aren’t handed out for effort.
As I try to close this, I realize this did not go anywhere near how I thought it would. Plus, I have no idea how to fix what’s broken, how to clean up the mess, how to restore order and bring about calm. I have no idea what I’m doing lately. Rainer Maria Rilke wrote “...I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” The first time I read this quote I had no idea what it meant. I still don’t understand what it means any more than I understand the mess in my life right now, and somehow, I think it’s fitting and appropriate. I think if I keep asking questions and I spend time in the classroom of silence with God, something may just be revealed to me. Then again maybe not, maybe I’m just supposed to constantly search out, seek my Lord. As I wrote in my very first blog post Living at Wits End means turning, reaching, seeking for God, praying for Him to give me direction and answers. Also, just maybe, sometimes it means that He will come in like the sorcerer. He will save the day, clean up the mess, and after, like all wonderful fathers He will pull me up into His lap and tell me its OK, we’ll figure it all out together.
Photos courtesy of: Walt Disney, wikipedia.org,Kalamazoo Manufacturing Company, G L Stock Images