Bless this mess

In my head, I know that someday I’m going to have one of those homes. The ones that look like a perfect picture on Pinterest (hey, look, alliteration). But I am here to tell you, this is not that someday. My stuff is still in boxes, going on two years now from the wedding day (yes, I know I should pitch it. I’ll likely never use it again). We have mismatched carpet, mismatched couches, mismatched recliners covered in throws. My husband and I are both “droppers.” We come in the door and dump it on the table. One of us (me) is way, way worse.

Once a year, the priest comes into the homes of the Orthodox with his holy water and his sprinkly-thingamabop. He puts on his stole and we kiss an icon and say some prayers and go around the house, singing “Lord, your baptism in the River Jordan taught us to worship the Trinity…” Monday was that day for me.

I spent Saturday night into Sunday morning running around a shopping mall training dogs. Last week was the week of murder and mayhem, the anniversary of a friend’s death and I just generally was pooped by Sunday evening. I tried to clean, I swear I did. Monday morning dawned with the dog puking at the foot of the bed (lovely wake-up call).

I really wanted to cancel, tell Fr. A something came up, whatever. But I didn’t and he showed up.

Funny thing about leading your priest around your house…you notice all the things you should have noticed like an hour before. Things that do not belong “out” for “company.” Things that would result in a lecture from your mother. These things. Sigh. Were. OUT.

And they got sprinkled with Holy Water. They did, along with the .45-caliber handgun on the book shelf, the pocket pistol by the television, the tac knives, and the search dog. My icon corner did as well, along with the, um, girl things, sitting on a dresser near by.

He blessed the sun porch–filled with diving gear, a flag from the fire department, EMT med bags, 24-hour search packs and the dog food. He blessed the barn, including my heavy bag and a gopher hole, a log splitter and the quads.

I was mostly appalled. I still blush.

Grace is never really convenient for me. I never get to clean up, wash my hands, straighten everything out and stop cussing loudly when it knocks on my door.

My life is EXACTLY like the house. Every single thing strewn about in our living space is exactly what we deal with every single day: the stresses of emergency response, life as a crime writer, two middle-aged adults trying to figure out married life.

And grace always shows up in the middle of it, knocking the snow off its boots and marching right into the intimate places, the vulnerable places and the mess.

Thank God. If it waited for me to straighten up first, well, nothing good would ever happen.

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Another week…

Another exercise in what makes humans truly special: our ability to dig deep into ourselves and find new ways to be absolutely and completely hideous.

It’s also the one year anniversary of the death of my second mom.

I’m feeling a tad melancholy and avoiding the bourbon tonight, because well, one should moderate to avoid finding the deeply hideous in ones own self.

This time the missing-and-of-course-dead child bumped into my volunteer world ever so briefly. It was a very odd, but welcome sense that maybe I could be a part of changing an outcome. We were not. The die was cast.

As all missing-and-of-course-dead children do, this one ended up in my professional world. He will stay there for a good six to 12 months, where myself and my coworkers will translate the horrible into somewhat palatable language understood by those at an eighth-grade reading level. Owen will never leave my psychological world. He is now on the list, behind Aliahna and Alejandra, Jonathon and McKenzie. It’s unfortunately lengthening.

We now have, of course, the added joys of the social media outcry against those whose behavior descends into the depths. That’s been also rather un-edifying, these urges we have on Facebook to cry for those who harm others to be horribly harmed themselves. We tap into these dark places in ourselves, and feel so righteous in doing it. Perfectly reasonable and good Christian people post on the social media pages of those who are charged about how much they would like to see them suffer sadistically, to be humiliated and debased. In making such claims, such calls for “justice” we debase only ourselves. I understand the impulse. I do. But I know that for myself, seeing these posts make me feel almost as sick as reading the details in the charging documents, almost as horrified as understanding the “how” and the “what.”

Now, though, speaking of social media, a Facebook friend tonight opined that we, humans, were incredibly fragile and ferociously strong. I love this, so very much.

I know that right now, as I sit here in the dark of my living room, listening the dishwasher and the fireplace, I feel pretty normal, and mundane. But I realize, as I also think about the anniversary of the death of my friend, that control, the ability to stave off the darkness, is an illusion. We are all so incredibly fragile.

In those moments though, when the doctor comes into the room, when the pagers go off, when the world gets all pear-shaped, when our loved ones are particularly vulnerable, we can find that place in all of us where we are so very ferociously strong.

I hope to be that way for others, for myself, in whatever way that I can. And I hope that what I find when I am forced to dig into the depths of who I am, I find who I was created to be. I hope that it is good.