This poem captured my heart as a child and again tonight as I cracked open “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein. This particular poem speaks to what I would like my home and my heart to be like. A place that is open and welcoming filled with warm fire, bold dreams and webs of words dancing as we gather together.
Do you have a poem that speaks to you?
Apparently beauty is found in the mess of life according to the artist who helped me with my creation. After mucking about with paint last night I learned a few things.
- Apparently perfection is not the goal.
- Uneven qualities bring beauty
- Being good at something isn’t what brings joy. The joy is found in the journey.
Upon looking at this work of “art” we can all probably agree that I’m not necessarily skilled in the area of visual production however is that the point of art when you think about creation? Do we sign up for art classes because we are good at art or because we want to get better? Maybe it’s not about better and it’s really about the process. Life is all about process after all as when we are finished, there’s no more living to be done.
We are creations of God who were thought of, imagined and birthed. Upon our arrival at this destination we were set free to tend to the task of becoming and that I think this is where things get a little tricky. We often get upset with ourselves if we make mistakes. We linger too long in certain seasons mucking about in mud of our own making rather than moving through, cleaning up and going forward.
I got stuck in the muck a lot last night but with some tending and gentle care from a few beautiful souls I left with something that looks not terrible. As I drove home I really got to thinking about how much of life really is an act of creation and requires a choice on our part to surrender to the journey. We cannot control the outcome each time. We will make mistakes. Nevertheless if we persevere and move forward something will come out of it that is surprising and worth celebrating.
As people we are all made and fashioned by God. We are set free to build a life and sometimes it’s those messy places that point us to where we might rather be. In the mess of life we uncover beauty. In the mess of life we might find ourselves contemplating a new way, a better way for us. Maybe if we surrendered to the journey a little more and relaxed into ourselves we might uncover more of what and who we are to be.
Perhaps it’s the messy moments in life that might better point us to what that purpose is than the tidy ones. In the mess, we often find beauty. In the unsteady horizon, there is sense of calm and comfort. When we relax into ourselves we might learn more about who we are and who we were created to be.
I wrote this fantastically long piece on Moses and life change and murder and mayhem. It was great. Ok it wasn’t great it was actually terrible. Writing is hard. Especially when one is trying to cut back on coffee and clear through the clutter on her desk to determine what must stay and what must go. I find my mind overwhelmed by this concept lately. I could put the blame at the ballet clad feet of Marie Kondo but that seems unfair. I have entered a phase of renewal. A phase where I must cleanse and restore. At least that’s what my star word tells me.
Ah yes, the star word. We passed out star words this week after I read about them and thought they might be a great way to begin our year. It has been a great exercise. Receiving the gift of these words has challenged and delighted, caused a little consternation and a lot of discussion. It did more than I ever expected and discovering where some of the words we used landed really demonstrated to me the amazing gifts of God in action.
Still I got renewal. The worst word. So hard for me because there is no clear path forward. So many things in life could be renewed! My life, my energy, my faith, my work, and the list goes on. It could be about the community of faith, or a community in which I am a part of. Renewal extends. Renewal Is about making changes to improve. It’s about beginning again after having stopped for a while. It’s the practice of renewing, reestablishing, restoring and perfecting. It’s so much work. And so much to contemplate. It would have been so much easier to get the word “Travel”. Still “Renewal” it must be as that is the star I drew. To renew, to rebuild, refresh, revive…. Whatever this year brings it will definitely be interesting.
Renewal implies building upon and making better. Also rest. I’m terrible at rest but work, work I can do. I can rest to. Don’t think I don’t rest but work, having a goal? That, that I am good at. I like to set targets, to have something I am working towards. I’ve been working a lot lately purging, removing and restoring order in my home. I’ve donated, shredded, recycled and thrown out if nothing else was at all possible. I don’t feel like I’m renewing I feel like I’m overhauling. It feels as though I’ve broken down and am building up as much as I possible can. I guess that is in a way what renewal is. The point at which you decide to break things down so you can put them back together better. The point where you take what is old and shape it into something new.
This year will bring something different and new. A renewal somehow. I look forward to seeing how it all unfolds.
Everything in my life right now is LEGO.
The boys every waking moment (when not in school of course) is consumed by LEGO and the creation of. There are always ships to be made, robot armies to create and houses to craft. The creation component of LEGO makes me happy of course. I feel as though in many ways we are closest to God when we create, when we allow that creative force out from within but it’s more than that. I love to watch them think, to explore, to dream. And speaking of dreams I found this little Emmet tucked into my son’s bed right beside his LEGO Ninjago alarm clock. I told you every waking moment was consumed by LEGO but now you know the truth. Every moment in some way or another is touched by these interlocking bricks.
There are worse things of course. We could be battling video game addictions or dealing with kids who just want to watch TV. Instead we only have to deal with the the pain of stepping on rogue pieces in the dark of night. Even our watching TV as a family seems to centre around these creations as this past weekend we all sat down and watched the LEGO movie.
I love The LEGO movie because the hero of the hour isn’t Batman. It’s not Superman or Gandalf or anything other than a simple, normal, everyday guy names Emmet. Emmet follows the rules, blends in with the crowd and is trying to find his place on earth by building his life according to the instructions. He never stands out. All he wants is a group of friends. Even so, without any extraordinary qualities or super powers he wins in the end. Emmet is just like us and Emmet wins. Isn’t that great?
Sometimes it seems in this world as if we lose when we are the nice guy. Sometimes it seems like everything we want can only be attained if we are aggressive and mean, if we invoke fear and dominate. Sometimes it seems like being an “Emmet” will only get you pain, suffering and failure.
But what if it doesn’t have to be this way. What if we could let go of these thoughts and sink into the reality that everyday life is in fact what changes the world. What if I told you that as Christians we’re encouraged to be anything other than dominating, fear inducing, aggressive or mean. I’ve been reading from the book of James a lot lately and it seems to me an awful lot like an instruction manual. It’s one of my favourite books in the Bible. It’s practical, helpful and it reminds us that when we follow we live differently but it doesn’t promise anything other than right ways of living.
Is that enough for us in a world where fame and fortune reign supreme? If it isn’t, maybe it should be. Taming a torturous tongue and quelling favouritism are massive tasks. The fact that our faith comes with a guidebook, an instruction manual really on how to live and build communities where Christ Followers are truly following is kind of fantastic. We don’t have to have all the answers. It’s not up to us. There is a master builder who laid out the way for us.
Sometimes we all like to dig into the LEGO and build whatever comes to us. It’s fun and we fail or achieve with little risk. Our lives though, they need a little more direction. Perhaps it’s ok to ask for help, to lean into the advice and listen when God whispers a course correction in our ears. After all what’s wrong with following the instructions? Our faith comes with some really simple rules, Love God and Love God’s people?
Imagine what the world could look like if we followed the instructions.