Mud, dirt, sawdust, grease, sweat….you name it, I love being messy. It usually means that I have been doing something I really enjoy. Or working on a project I know I will be particularly proud of when it’s finished. And who doesn’t like to be proud of what they’ve done? When I choose to get messy, boy, oh boy do I embrace it. Like my uncle once said…anything worth doing, is worth over-doing!
But you know what, it isn’t always that way. There are plenty of times when I find myself in the midst of a mess that I wasn’t expecting. Like topping off the the tank in my car…and spilling gas all over my best pair of dress shoes. Or when the dogs bust into the house after romping in a mud hole…and they track that glorious red Georgia clay all over the white carpet.
The emotions usually follow the same path for me. I deny (well maybe nobody notices the puddle of gas, and I can just drive off). I blame (the stupid defective gas pump!). I get angry (those stupid flea bags!).
But none of that changes what happens in the end. You see, it doesn’t matter whether the mess was my fault or not. It doesn’t matter what caused these disasters to happen. I am now the proud owner of the responsibility for cleaning it up. It doesn’t matter if I was changing the brakes on my car, or scrubbing muddy paw prints out of the carpet…there is a certain sense of relief I feel when everything is cleaned up, put back into it’s proper place, and looks as good as new.
It occurs to me that my faith journey is just a series of messes that have been cleaned up. And that my spiritual messiness falls into the same two categories. There have been numerous times that I have found myself in the confessional, knowing FULL well that I deliberately chose to make a certain “mess” (a sin), and that I now have to get out the bristle brush and scrub the stubborn dirt off my hands.
But there have also been plenty of times that I have found myself in the middle of a sinful mess, not really knowing how I got there, or what caused it to happen. I usually start with denial (“Well, this isn’t really THAT big of a sin. Everyone else did it too). I blame (ok, yeah, this clearly is a sin, but someone or something MADE me do it). And I get angry (Dang it! Why did I let myself do this? I have NO willpower. I’m a horrible person). Regardless, I must clean it all up. And I am eternally grateful for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Nothing compares to that feeling of a clean soul that I always get from receiving absolution.
I encourage all of you to take advantage of this beautiful gift we have been given. And don’t forget that the bigger the mess, the better we feel when it’s all cleaned up. It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve caused our guardian angels to put their “palm to forehead”. It doesn’t matter if we are covered in mud head to toe. We can always bring our mess to Jesus. And know that all of our brothers and sisters are standing with us, each with their own particular mess. And remember that not only can He get us cleaned up…He will continue to shower us with the Grace we need to try and avoid that mud hole the next time. But that if we fall into it anyway, well…..wash, rinse, repeat.
Bless you all, and keep up the good work!
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