My mind is full of the things we learn as we grow up, the good things, the bad things, the ones that we can’t quite categorize.
There are the lessons I expected to learn. The saving some money so you can pay the mortgage lesson. The don’t exclusively eat peanut butter and chocolate ice cream lesson. Heavens, I’ve even learned the “don’t promise your kids you’ll go to Chuck E Cheese some day, because they’ll never shut up about it until you actually go” lesson. Some of the teachings of age and experience have been easy to accept. Others have not.
I think the hardest thing I am learning in my adult years is that life is messy. Mortals aren’t made of clean lines and certainty. We are clay and best intentions and mistakes and hopes for a better tomorrow. But we are also divine beings with eternal potential and hearts that were made to love and forgive. It is so hard and so damn beautiful all at the same time. I think sometimes, we feel like we have failed because we have gotten ourselves a bit smudged, because we have colored outside the lines, because we are splattered and stained with the reality of living these blessed, hard lives.
As I drove home with my girls tonight, I thought about how desperately I hope that they understand that earth stains do not mean they have failed and they do not mean they can never be clean. They don’t mean any thing at all except that they got up to live another day and my goodness, isn’t that a blessing? I hope they get messy. I hope they make mistakes and learn from them and allow themselves to rise above the actions, intentions and complexities that do not define them. I hope they understand that love isn’t found in the hard lines, it isn’t found in certainty, it isn’t found in perfection. Love – that word that inspired creation and moves our hearts is found in the imperfect. It is found in the grey areas where we forgive anyways, it is found in the places light goes to relieve the darkness, it is found in a Creator that looks down on our mistakes, our misplaced hopes, our smallness of mind and spirit and runs to us to carry us us each home in spite of it all.
Life will be hard. It will also be worth every heartbreaking, lesson learning moment. And, of course, in spite of the untidiness of mortality (and sometimes because of it), I hope they see the beauty. The crunch of the top of a freshly made creme brulee, a drive home under a flaming sunset, a good friend holding your hand while you try to quiet your aching soul. It’s a difficult, glorious work and I hope they know they were made for it.
We were made for this.