“Shoot! I forgot to do Gracie’s hair,” I uttered.
We were in the car on our way to drop the kids off at school, and then Gracie and I were heading to my mother-in-law’s house with hydrangeas, a balloon and gigantic homemade cards for her birthday.
“Why does it matter, Mom? Neno won’t care,” my 11-year-old daughter stated from the back seat.
“When I put her hair up, she looks more put together,” I replied with an intonation of instruction.
“But, Mom, even if her hair is up she’s still a mess!” she responded unaware of her profundity.
We laugh, and I take a glance at the two-year-old in my rearview mirror: Gracie smiles through her mane of hair, nutella-stained cheeks, and shoeless feet. Yep, she’s still the one to dump every toy in two seconds. The one smearing glue on her legs as lotion. The one to scream “I am Moana!!!” to the world while wearing her Elsa princess dress. The one to run full speed into waiting arms.
Aren’t we all a mess? Why do we try so hard to appear put together? And don’t we need each other in our chaos so we don’t live in thought-filled isolation?
We all need someone to wash the glue off of our legs. To show us how to put our items back where they belong. To help wipe the stains. To walk side by side as we cross this road called Life and to accept us for who we are.
I’ve lived through a dark season where I isolated myself, yet I had friends knock on my door in different ways and didn’t leave me alone. They not only carried me forward and lit the way out of a massive hole, but embraced me in the process.
That’s the very thing that is spurring my heart as I watch the devastation of Hurricane Harvey’s destruction from afar. Neighbor helping neighbor. Strangers running into the floods to rescue. Kindness breaking down walls of division. Differences obliterated.
When we are met in our mess, hope restores, faith strengthens and love covers it all.
Come as you are. That’s all we can do. That’s all we’re supposed to do. Lay it at the foot of the cross for the One who picks up your chin and says, “You are enough. I’ve got you, and I love you.”
And when we accept that we are dearly loved, mess and all, we can turn outward. We can clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness (Col. 3:12). We are clothed in attire this world desperately needs.
And once again I learn from my girls: one pre-adolescent causing me to look inward and the toddler who abandons all to live life recklessly, freely and fully.
And when we arrived at Neno’s house, a little two-year-old with messy hair runs straight into waiting arms. A picture of grace.