In the girlie movie, "Letters to Juliet", the grandmother says something about life being about the "messy bits". I don't own the movie, so I can't check the exact quote, but that has come to my mind more than once these past several weeks as we are indeed in the messy bits in so many ways.
Today, in the midst of the messy bits I have to say that I found gratitude creeping in. It came in so many little forms - from an encouraging word given by a beautiful stranger who hopefully will become someone I get to know a bit, to the perfect amount of stuffing found at a thrift store for $1 to be able to complete the sock monkey and stick horse I want to make, to the guy at our mechanic who gave my son a miniature VW bus to keep when we stopped in because Grasshopper just had to meet "Tim & Neil", to the lady at the Habitat ReStore who gave me five dollars off a doorknob and deadbolt set we need for our storage unit in the barn. All of those things were little, seemingly insignificant. But all of them amounted to sweet bits of grace scattered throughout this day in a season of messy bits.
And yes, I know there is still that lurking elephant to deal with. Ironically, my son's current favorite book is about an elephant who never forgets, and in that forgetting he cannot forgive. This little elephant has to learn to forget what is not important enough to remember. It's among one of the most profound children's books I've read. So, like little Congo the elephant, I'm learning some important lessons. I'm not there yet and I won't be for awhile, but that's okay.
In the meantime, I'm finding a strange excitement in tackling a crazy project the likes of which I've not tried since I was a little kid in school. In about five months, I hope to come back and report success in memorizing a little book in the Bible. And hopefully, I'll be able to report that I exercised my brain, my heart, my whole body, and my whole soul at the same time. I just typed up the first chapter I'm going to be memorizing, and I'm about ready to get on the elliptical to get going with it.
What is so funny about that whole project is the difference 30 years makes. When I was a child, memorizing was for a grade or a competition. For whatever reason, it never really reached to my heart. Recently, I've discovered that the few things I do remember from my childhood memorizing days have been the only thing able to quiet the accusing voices in my heart that would like to spend all their time telling me how worthless I am. It's so effective, it is like magic. No kidding. It is a really weird experience, if I'm being honest. I mean, I've spent loads of money paying someone to help me ignore those voices and I've tried numerous methods of ignoring, all to no avail. Even as recently as last week as I was reading a girlie book (something by Lori Wick) to escape, the accusations creeped into my brain and hollered so loudly that I realized after a whole page that I'd read all the words but hadn't actually taken them in at all because I'd been so busy listening to the internal dialogue going on. But all it takes is 25 little words strung into one living sentence to conquer those despicable voices.
And yes, I mean living. Now I get what it can mean when it says that the word of God is living and active. I know some of you who read here on occasion don't believe in Jesus or the Bible anymore, and you might think that I'm a little whacked to be saying this. I would have probably agreed with you if it hadn't actually happened and shocked the heck out of me.
Anyway, all of this is to say that I love how our Creator doesn't abandon us even in the messiest of the messy bits. And I love how we get to see markers on the journey here and there to remind us of the gifts we get even in the ugly times. Today was a day like that. And I'm glad.