I’m working my way through Matthew Kelly’s book, Life Is Messy. I’ve done some porch talks on this book as well as another book that he wrote, I Heard God Laugh. Kelly has keen insights into the paradox of suffering. Still, I am finding Messy a challenging book to get through. (Of COURSE it’s difficult… it’s Lent!)
Early in the book, he makes some points about the human dilemma. He outlines four points.
- Life is messy
- You’re not doing it wrong – even if it’s messy. This is a key point. Most people think that when life starts getting difficult, it’s their fault. I see it often in pastoral counseling. People believe they’re doing something wrong in their life. This leads us to Kelly’s third point.
- There is no plan that you can devise that can solve the mess. There is no self-help program you can attend. There are no books you can read to solve this. Kelly never gets into the idea of original sin or the consequences of the fall. Our world was created by God. It is good. It is also still damaged. Thus it is in need of redemption. In the meantime …see point #1 above.
- The mess serves a powerful purpose. Acceptance is the way to make peace with the mess. Realize also that acceptance is not surrendering. It is not defeat. It is “a penetrating awareness that the meaning of life isn’t to solve the mess.” (Matthew Kelly).
A friend of mine often comments on addressing the mess. It is a hopeful, God-centered, call. “Either you will either transform it – or you will transfer it.” Kelly is saying to accept the mess and allow God to help you with the transformation.