We share a bathroom with our kids for the first time. If you have small kids, you know… This isn’t exactly pleasant.
The other day our middle son was at the dentist. He told them stories, making them all laugh, and then told my wife, “I don’t know why I can remember all these stories, but I can’t remember to wipe my own butt.”
I’m over-showerer. I shower at night, in the morning, and maybe more if I need it. This is entirely too much showering, and I get that. (Please… No lectures on water conservation and etc.)
Most nights, I shower after my kids take their baths in the same bathroom we all share. When I get into the bathroom after their bedtime, there are toys everywhere. Clothes are all over the ground. Last night the entire floor was covered in water. It’s a dang mess.
I heard an older friend talk about this. His kids are grown. When he came home from work, he’d see fingerprints all over the glass door. He’d get upset and ask for it to be cleaned. The kids were instructed how to open the door and not get fingerprints all over it. They had five kids, so this went on for quite a few years.
Not too long ago, my friend came home to an empty house.
The kids have all grown up and moved out. It’s just him and his wife at home now.
As he walked in the door, he caught himself thinking, “I sure do miss those fingerprints.”
Could it be that there’s life in the mess?
Maybe every time I come into that bathroom, and the toys fill the tub, it’s an invitation to rejoice. Perhaps the fingerprints all over the door are reason to celebrate. Could it be that we’ve been trying to fix the very things breathing life into our current existence?
A few days ago, I started re-reading the Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. He talked about the moment that Jesus declared that the “kingdom of God is like a little child” (ref: Matthew 18:3). Manning points out that for Jesus, that wasn’t a statement of innocence or purity. It’s as if Jesus was saying, “Children are hopelessly a mess. If they get in on this, then we all can get in on this.”
Maybe the mess is an invitation to see yourself as a mess, too, and then recognize that God has wildly loved you in your mess.
Of course, teach your kids to clean their mess up, because that’s teaching them to be adults and take responsibility for their actions.
Maybe there’s another way.
We don’t have to let the mess mess-up our days.
One day, you’ll most likely miss the mess.
So… let’s enjoy the mess because there’s life in the mess!