I can certainly attest to the messiness of life. Over the past several weeks, my kids have tossed a stomach bug back and forth between each other. As soon as we'd get one child healthy, another one would fall ill. Rinse. Repeat.
As I caught my son's vomit in my bare hands, I thought to myself, "This is NOT what I signed up for."
Immediately, I regretted thinking that. And deep down I didn’t mean it. But sometimes life as a mom overwhelms me and wrecks me and knocks me to my knees. Sometimes it’s more than I can handle.
Through tears of anger and frustration and worry, I cleaned up the mess. I held my sick child, rubbed his sweet face, kissed his feverish head.
Of course, I'll catch their vomit. I'll clean snot from their faces with nary a Kleenex in sight. I'll wipe their bottoms with a grin on my face, so long as it means I can feel the warmth of their bodies, hear the beating of their hearts, see the life within them.
Their lives are precious. They are precious.
But even knowing deep in my bones that life is short and often fragile, I'm still going to lose my temper. I'm still going to get frustrated and irritated and mad. I’m going to complain.
That's life, too. And life is messy. It's tiring and overwhelming.
Our children are going to bicker.
We're going to argue with our husbands.
We will have joys and triumphs. We will experience sorrow and setbacks.
Sometimes we have to clean up puke or wake up in the middle of the night with a crying child.
Sometimes we have to clean up spilled milk or shattered glass.
Sometimes we get bruised and broken. Sometimes we must watch the ones we love get their own battle scars.
Sometimes we crash and burn.
We bleed. We grieve. Our hearts get broken time and time again.
Life is messy.
But, oh my, how life is beautiful.
It's beautiful when we welcome a baby into the world. When we smell the sweet scent of new life.
It's beautiful when we laugh until our sides ache with the ones we love.
It's beautiful when our dreams come true and even more beautiful when we watch a dream come true for someone we love.
When we watch our child sleep. When we stare up at the stars.
When we eat ice cream or do a cannonball into the lake on a warm, summer day.
It's beautiful in big moments like graduations, weddings, and vacations.
It's beautiful in the small moments like playing soccer in the backyard, building a tower of blocks in the playroom, and reading a story together on the couch.
Too often we forget that our lives are fleeting. We get wrapped up in the messiness.
And you know what? It's okay. It's okay to be overwhelmed by life.
It's okay to be frustrated when we have to sweep crumbs from the floor (again).
It's okay to be stricken by grief.
This may not be the life we "signed up for," but it's the only one we have. We must learn to balance the bad alongside the good. We must make peace with our brokenness.
We must cling to what is good and beautiful while we wade through the mess. We must recognize and savor those moments when life is suddenly in sweet, slow motion. And in those brief moments, we must clutch our hearts, close our eyes, and remember that life is messy, but beautiful.
Life is hard, but worth it.