On the Importance of Mud
Sep 11 2013
Yesterday we talked about mud, and, well, being face down in it. Exhausted. Worn out. A little bit done. Because that is life, and that is faith, and that is marriage, and that is motherhood some days.
OK, most days.
Alright; it’s part of every freaking day, but I was shooting for optimism here, so let’s lie a teeny, tiny bit to ourselves and stick with “most days,” OK? Thank you.
Truth is, there are people in this world who are going to exhort you to get out of that mud pit, and get back on the straight and narrow, and take one more step, and do more and doubt less, but I? I am not one of them.
Quite frankly, if I see you face down on life’s path, spread eagle and mumbling, “I can’t do it anymore. I can’t. Not. One. More. Step,” I’m not the one who’s going to jog in place with pep and vigor and cheerfully shout, “Oh, come on. Hop up! YOU CAN DO IT.”
No, I’m sure not. Because, although I’m as certain as the cheerleader that you can take another step, I’m the girl who’s going to see you there, covered in mud and exhaustion, and flop down beside you on my back, look up at the sky and the trees, and say, “Can you even believe it’s possible to be THIS TIRED? This DONE? With All The Things?” And I will shake my head back and forth in that mud in disbelief at this much weariness as I tell the others who stumble upon us, “Carry on! Don’t wait for us. We’re just taking a lengthy break right here. An indefinite break. A break to shame all previous breaks. You know, because we’re stretching out our muscles and stuff.” And then I’ll stage whisper to you, “Or we’re dying,” and you’ll laugh, because you’ll know I’m kidding, but barely.
Lots of people will carry on, hurdling over us at breakneck speeds, and we’ll cheer for them as best we can in our wasted state, thinking good for you and, when we can muster the energy, giving them a half-hearted one-thumb-up. But some other weary souls will collapse beside us, and the group of us will lay there together in the mess and just breathe. And shake our heads. And laugh when we can. And breathe again.
Which is a lot what Love looks like to me these days.
Yep. This is so much what Love looks like to me these days.
And as your comments came in, comments of mamaraderie like,
I’m right there with you in the mud,
Move over, friend; I’ll bring a pillow for our heads,
God just flopped down with us and started a game of find-the-pictures in the clouds,
I think I will lay down in the mud and rest with you all,…
…we anointed each other. With mud matted in our hair and oozing through our clothes; with clouds making pictures of dragons over our heads; in the presence of Love; in the middle of the madness; together on messy, gooey ground, we dipped our fingers into the wet earth and painted each other with symbols of blessing. With Honesty. With Laughter. With Love. With Peace. With Solidarity. With Community.
We anointed each other, friends.
And, YES. Yes, this is Love, exactly. And bear with me a minute, here, because this reminds me of a Jesus story. An important one, I think. Truly critical for those of us in the mud. And remember, if you’re not a Jesusy person, that’s OK. Sometimes I just call Jesus and God by their other name, Love, and then it all makes better sense to me.
Here’s the story:
As Jesus went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus…
AND THEN CHECK THIS OUT:
After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash.” So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.*
We spend so much time asking what’s wrong with us, don’t we? Feeling like we’re not enough. Or too much. Or sitting in the dark. Or otherwise stuck in the mire. And the world seems to spend a lot of effort trying to figure out who’s to blame for, well, everything. And all of that wondering and wandering and finger-pointing and not-enoughing can make us miss the whole point. The truth is, healing comes when we allow Divine Love to enter into the mix of mud and spit and sorrow and people who are stuck in the dark.
Love enters in.
Not in spite of the mess.
But through it.
Because of it.
I love that Jesus chose something so ridiculous, SO MESSY – not pretty, not pristine, not even a little Pinteresty – to heal. Love hocked a loogie in the dirt, friends, and used the things that don’t make sense as agents of sight.
And here’s the thing that I believe to be absolutely true: sitting in the dirt with the mud and the spit smeared on us is enough, and is, in fact, Divine. When we work from this place of enough – this mess of life is enough; I am enough; Love is enough – we are kinder and gentler to the people around us and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves. Because when nothing separates us from the dirt and the spit and the mud, we are, finally, on sacred, holy ground.
*John 9:1-3, 6, 7