I have been at the “bottom of my lap top” since August, doggedly hacking away at the keys to birth these words I have been pregnant with for years. Really I have been at the bottom of my heart. The deep called to deep and I have labored to push it out. Wanting it to be beautiful but also knowing it has to be real. It has to be real or my readers know it’s white washed and refuse to allow it to call to their deep. The depths of their hearts are longing for something raw. They live in the ugly, messy world and long to be rescued into beauty… refusing to see the beauty that is their scattered, unorganized life.
I have never really liked asymmetry. I am a symmetry-craving person. Balance. Not even the slightest imperfection on one side of the painting or the other… that’s what I crave.
My kids used to “butcher” art projects. We would string up beads and my son would just start putting them on randomly. I slow the kids down and carefully explain how to make a pattern with the beads. The boys would never heed my instructions. I let it go… not wanting to crush their pioneer spirits. But I would despise their art projects. I would secretly plot how to get rid of them after the kids had forgotten them.
Why do I do that? Why is it so important to me that what is around me is balanced… symmetrical… perfect? Who is “perfect” anyway? And why do I crave it so? When did symmetry and beauty become synonymous?
I thought about this when I was at a jewelry party once. So much of the costume jewelry that is popular now is well... messy looking. A tangle of beads… a lopsided pendant… a curvy line on one side and a square block on the other… Mixed up, tangled up, messy pile of worthless metal and plastic. Nothing symmetrical… Not an ounce of precious metal… just junk.
I examine my heart.
These women around me are delighted. Their eyes sparkle and shine like the shiny beads under lamp light. They want a little beauty in their harried, messy life.
Is this the truth I have so desperately needed? Life is not symmetrical. We walk this path with very little to balance us out… certainly without perfection. Even if we get our house to be spotless, the next day there will be disorder. Even if we walk through most of our life close to the Lord’s side, we invariably will go through a season of spiritual drought.
Is life just a mixed up, tangled up, messy pile of worthless junk? Is there no beauty there?
Maybe our worth is just a matter of perspective. Maybe beauty is in how we perceive it. When we are scrubbing soap scum to reveal the beauty in the bathroom, we do not feel poetic and inspired. When we are exchanging harsh words and slamming doors, we do not see any jewel to be gleaned there.
But maybe life IS just a tangled messy, pile of seemingly worthless junk. All we see is plastic and steel but there is ONE who values it as diamonds and gold. We see the things that are RARE as the most precious but maybe the things that are common place have the most beauty of all.
Crumbs on the floor after the family gathered together to share food and hearts
Ten pairs of muddy shoes by the back door
Half empty bottles of paint and one ruined shirt-
A lopsided window to the heart of an eight year old boy
Worn wooden planks of a floor who has seen miles of sojourners here
The smudged wall around the light switch
The plant that remembers a loved one gone glory
No forks in the silverware drawer
Maybe this tangled messy life IS beautiful. We cannot see it because we are so close to it. We cannot place the true value on things because we don’t have the right. Only God can do that. Maybe God doesn’t want life to be symmetrical. Maybe his plan is a little imbalanced.
I mean look at the cross… There is a tragic imbalance there. ONE man taking on the sins of the entire WORLD… Maybe God’s economy is asymmetrical.
I remember critiquing a pendant once with my son. I commented that I didn’t like things that are asymmetrical and at first he agreed with me (he so longs to please me) and then he said he didn’t know. Although the pendant was not symmetrical it did seem to be balanced. After some reflection I did agree with him…
We are all on a journey and maybe we will not ever be able to see the balance until we are at the end of the road. God sees our beginning and our end… he knows what the master piece looks like from afar. As my life becomes entangled with the beads of other’s lives… as I lose a couple of pieces off the edge of the table (never to recover them)… as a chunky jewel or wide gap weaves its way into my life: I am trying to stop looking for symmetry.
Life is asymmetrical. Life is messy and not uniform and… beautiful.
We paint our lopsided houses and plant our flowers in crooked rows.
We mow one half of the yard and let the other side grow
We wipe little noses and cry a river of tears
We go to the altar and lay down our fears
We hide in the corner and set out on the trail
We climb to the summit and hold tight to the rail
We push and we pull and break the mold
We step out in faith and try to be bold
We say the truths the world will not hear
We set our jaw and choke back our fears
We grab hold of dirty hands
We till up miles of tainted land
We plant our seeds where cities grow
Hoping to see little lights glow
Into a forest fire of faith
What we do is never safe
It is NOT easy, nor is it fun
We trod the race we are to run
We believe there is value there
Lurking somewhere beneath the stair
We call and coax it in to the light
We ask you to surrender night
Exchange your ashes for what is right
Take your rightful place, my dear
To destination we draw near
Pearls that once were grain of sand
Now have beauty in eyes of man
The world sees us and agrees
From blinded eyes we have been freed