The Magic in Our Mess


A_Stef-750Back in May, I wrote about the notion that we, like our plants, can become root bound. That post came to mind later that month when I finally dug out my gardening gloves and crouched down to face my neglected garden. For far too long I’d been looking out at a sea of brown–dead plants, withered grasses, muddy pots and sludgy trays.

The job felt big and daunting, so I had put it off time and again. I just wanted someone else to do it. I wanted one of those big reality-show reveals, where the dumpy “before” shot makes way for the Sparkly Beautiful After (insert that twinkly “voila!” sound effect here).

“Today’s the day. Let’s do this!” I thought, pumping myself up like Rocky before a rumble. For hours I toiled, emptying pots and washing trays. Dodging spiders and marvelling at teeny tiny baby slugs. Seeing what root bound really looks like, beneath the surface.

While I’d longed to be able to snap my fingers and have the job done, I realized that each task–no matter how tedious or grimy–was necessary and important. As I swept up debris and scrubbed off slime, I set aside my wish for immediate results and remembered Homer’s words: The journey is the thing.

And then, there I was under the stars, surrounded by quiet and the smell of dirt. The dead plants were gone, and though there was not a flower or leaf in sight, I appreciated that the space was ready to receive something that could flourish.

Now there is colour and beauty out my window, and I admire it every day. But I’m hanging onto the idea that there can be magic in our mess. When we’re in a season of in-between, God is digging into us, preparing us to receive and grow. I’m remembering that buds ripe with potential are sometimes even more lovely than fully unfurled blooms. If we get our hands dirty and faithfully take on what’s in front of us, maybe we can enjoy the journey and trust that God’s got the big reveal covered.


Image credits: Stefanie Thomas