Monday 1st January, 2024
Happy New Year!
No matter how much we try to avoid it, life is messy.
Messy and… well….mingin’!
Humanity isn’t clean and neat and tidy, we burp, and fart, and poop and bleed. In fact most of our bodily functions are sticky and gooey and often a bit stinky too. We’re gross!
And that’s just the physical stuff.
Emotionally, morally, we’re worse. We’re a mess.
When I got a new boyfriend, for a long time, whenever I would see him I always tried to present my best self, always freshly showered, hairy bits shaved, make up on, hair brushed but when I got sick and he held my hair back whilst I simultaneously vomited and shit myself, that’s when I knew he loved me. Those of us who are parents will no doubt be familiar with stooping down to a vomiting or crying child, of giving up any semblance of dignity and getting right down there into the mess with them. When my son who is autistic has a meltdown he needs me right there on the floor holding him close. I have found myself sitting in the middle of streets, railways stations, supermarket aisles and theme parks, on the floor, in the dirt, one one occasion in a filthy muddy puddle, comforting my distressed child.
That’s what love does. It climbs down right into the midst of the mess.
This year, my word of the year is “mess.” If I want to love outrageously, radically, to extreme then I have to be prepared for it to be messy. I have to be prepared to get stuck into the mess that is humanity. To be in the midst of the pain and the suffering, holding and comforting, even if that means sitting in the mud and the blood and the tears.
That’s what love does.
Love is not shiny, it is not hallowed, it is not a beautiful palace with gleaming white walls afraid of sticky fingers. It is sticky fingers and grimy handprints and muddy footprints, tear streaked cheeks and blood stained pants. It is worn out shoes and grass stained knees, the smell of sickness and the stench of grief. Love does not turn its nose up at the mess, it embraces the humanity before it with open arms. No matter what.