In his recent book, Life Is Messy, Matthew Kelly examines an inevitable aspect of the human condition. Kelly claims there is nothing we can do that will eradicate the mess of life. “The mess is here to stay. It’s unavoidable. It’s just life.”
We each have our own mess to contend with. We “can ignore it, avoid it, deny it, blame others, shame yourself, and exhaust yourself pretending your life isn’t messy” or “you can realize that the mess serves a powerful purpose….To discover that powerful purpose, we first need to accept that the mess is not the problem. The problem is our erroneous belief that everything should be immaculate, orderly, neat, tidy, and in its place.”
What we do with the mess is what makes the difference. “Acceptance,” claims Kelly, “is the only way to make peace with the mess. This acceptance will lead you to a profound acceptance of life, others, and self.” It is the beginning of wisdom that leads to figuring things out: “We laugh, we cry, we grow, and we move on to new beginnings, second chances, and amazing possibilities.”
“Acceptance…is a simple recognition of the truth
that this is the way things are in the moment.”
In the messiness of life, we experience brokenness…broken people, relationships, institutions, families, and broken self. This brokenness, suggests Kelly, becomes a problem “if we subscribe to the false notion that we have to try to keep everyone and everything from being broken.”
What we have learned “in our wasteful, consumption-addicted society” is that we throw broken things away. We replace them with something new and perfect.
But is there another option? Can we make something broken more beautiful than ever before? The belief that this is possible, claims Kelly, “is the source and the summit of hope.” We will consider this possibility next week. For now, consider how you experience the messiness of life and your thoughts, feelings, and assumptions regarding its brokenness.
From our team…Kevin Brennan, Willow Sweeney, and Tom Cody…who have journeyed into the messiness of life.
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