Every one has messy stuff in our lives. Some of us show it pretty clearly; it becomes obvious in less than 5 minutes. For others of us, it takes time. The surface may look good, but real time spent in our lives and in our homes will show — we don’t have it all together.
The writer Anne Lamott put it well:
“Almost everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, scared, and yet designed for joy. Even (or especially) people who seem to have it more or less together are more like the rest of us than you would believe. I try not to compare my insides to their outsides, because this makes me much worse than I already am, and if I get to know them, they turn out to have plenty of irritability and shadow of their own. Besides, those few people who aren’t a mess are probably good for about twenty minutes of dinner conversation.”
Even so, we tend not to open ourselves to others. It’s simpler that way, less messy. But what if the only way to face the mess is open it to others? What if the only real way to grow is to grow in the places in our lives that are most challenging? What if our instinct to protect and hide is actually more damaging to us than opening and sharing? Of course, this must be done with the right people in the right way. But there is something truly life-giving in a relationship where I can be honest about the things I’m struggling with, and find — not judgment or false piety — but honesty. And grace. And a reciprocal transparency.
I’m grateful for the handful of people in my life I can be honest with — and real. It reminds me that I’m not alone. That growth takes place in the dirt. And that this life is truly a journey that we need to keep walking, together — even when we stumble. For how else can we get up and keep going if there’s no one else around?