Friday, October 10, 2014

Come In

If you hadn't noticed, my house and I are having a bit of a "moment". It's not that I feel compelled to expose it/us every time it's a mess, it's that this is the way we usually live. And I like it this way.

This is what life looks like in between the photos that get staged and tweaked, before I pull out all the shadows and brighten things up a bit.

If there's one thing I know, it's that I was never as comfortable with the mess until we moved out of our dream house and into a place we never knew to dream of.

Here, we hold hands with the mess of life, where clothes wait to be washed and folded and sized and stacked - ready for whoever gets them next. There are muffins to be made for the folks who just moved into the blue house. There are blankets left-over from last night, when one of our favorite neighbors came to stay a while.

On my worst days, I believe I actually have lost myself, that something was broken along the way. I look to my left, to my right. I see good, Christian folks in their shirtsleeves and neckties, the salt-of-the-earth women who scrub their floors as in worship.

What I mostly want to do is run. Or hide. I worry I don't fit with them. I feel the pull to retreat into myself, offering as little back as I can get away with. (Even then, I feel like a fraud.)

On my best days, I stand at my messy counters while the sun is barely pricking the sky and water fills the sink. I look out my window just as the three new neighbor kids walk past, a clean 25 minutes late to school.

My eyes meet his through the glass and I wonder what he thinks when he sees me standing here in my husband's sweatshirt, with bed-head. Overwhelmingly, as "deconstructed" as my house may feel at the moment, I wish it was so much worse. I don't ever want him to believe he can't roll with us. I don't want my throw pillows to look like a row of tidy, church-shirt buttons, or my curtains to seem sort of like a necktie.

Some of the people on my street use bed sheets for curtains, not because they like the pattern, but because it's what they have to keep everyone away - the prying eyes, the suspicion, the outsiders.

I don't have bed sheet curtains to yank open (wait, actually...I do.) But what I can offer is my hot mess of a life, where tasks outnumber hours. I can offer my tendencies to grumble, not because they're holy, but because they're human. (My imperfect heart knows its own kind, so yours might, too. We'll get there together.)

What I can give you here is my promise to not pretend, and though some days this curtains-splayed existence looks like fluffy hair and a face full of make-up, most days it looks like 3-day yoga pants, flat bangs, and dark circles.

I can look you in the eyes and tell you how hard it is for me to pray, how I've always felt I wasn't good enough at it and how Satan twists my truth into lies, sometimes, making me believe my love for Jesus must not be real, causing me to fear being found out.

I live, quite literally, where the sidewalk ends.
Different things are valued here, not necessarily better things, not necessarily worse. 

I live and move inside my pretty, little white house where our electricity has never been cut. Our cupboards have never known lack.

I fend off wishes that I wouldn't love beauty so much, that I could strip away all my thrift-store glitz and live bare-bones, like Shane Claiborne probably does.

The real truth is, I splurged two days ago on a different color comforter for our bed.

With the snap of my wrists, clean sheets fall but the room is still a mess. I'm still tripping over boxes and wondering what's become of me. I'm still niggled by the thought of what some of my friends might think if they knew.

I never wonder long enough to really care.

This call to live in the heart of humanity, with people different and exactly like myself, is a call to live and breathe its rhythm. The call to love the broken is a call to live in brokenness - to embrace being broken.

This undercurrent of bold-faced imperfection is saving me.
There moves among us the winds of dependence - we are a people in need.

Come on into my mess. You are welcome here.

"Don't divide your life into things you can do by yourself and things that require My help. Instead, learn to rely on Me in every situation." - Jesus Calling