Have napkin will travel…

Ok, I admit it. I have a bit of control freak in me. I like things in order, I’m a fan of symmetry, I appreciate defined lines. People always get on me because I will never wear wrinkled clothes, and I used to be so bad I had my closet organized by solids, then stripes and colors light to dark… J teases me that when I say I am going to drop by at 1, she expects me at 1.. not 1:01 or 12:59… Yep, that’s just me.

So, when SuuperG, Gina Stark penned a quote on Twitter, it caught my attention. Well, actually, it caught my attention cuz it was Gina, and to know her is to love her and what she says and does. I did a quick response, then I read the quote again, and I thought it was so profound, that I had to really think about it, internalize it, and let it change me.What is this quote,you ask? Ok, here it goes:

Life is messy. Bring a napkin.

Simple, right?

On the surface, sure, but for the crazy ordered person like me, messy throws a big monkey wrench in my comfort level. Now, I know that life is messy. Always has been. But my method of dealing with the mess was to try to get away from it. Not acknowledge it. Pretend it wasn’t there. I would rather stare at the order of my closet than deal with the messyness of life (dude, is that even a word?). Messy stuph doesn’t fit in an ordered life, or so it would seem. You can’t control the messy. You can’t predict it. Urgh… just thinking about it sends shivers through my body…

But life, still, is messy. I knew that when I was 12 and found out that my little sister had cancer. I knew it when I had to shut down my church. When each of those situations happened, I thought “It’s not supposed to be this way”.

Life didn’t take pity on me and stop being messy. In fact, it went on a rampage, and continued to be messy. How dare you, Life! Aren’t you supposed to give me something I can work with? But… maybe it was…

Left turn in the middle of the story… I love to eat, and given the opportunity, I love to tear into a good rack of ribs. As I’m smacking away, I’m internally detesting the mess on my hands (yes, I have it bad), but you just can’t eat ribs with a knife and fork! The only way to fully enjoy them is to enjoy the mess that comes with them. Grab a bunch of napkins, prepare to lick your fingers over and over, and relish the experience.

I think this is why Life continued its rampage. Not to spite me, but to invite me into the dance. After all, with all of the bad messy stuph I experienced, I’m still here and still going strong. And there have been good messy things as well. Last night I got together with a couple of guys from my church, and part of our conversation was, believe it our not, how we got mad at each other :-). Not hateful, vengeful, bitter anger, but situational, where we had to check each other. It was awesome! What made it awesome was that we each knew that the offense was not intentional, and felt safe to enter into the mess and talk about it rather than hide it and act like everything was ok. We talked, we laughed, and we had pizza. Yes, I ate it with my hands…

So, I love the quote. Not that I’m going to totally give up my controlling self (my closet isn’t quite as orderly as it was..), but I think there is something to carrying around a napkin, being prepared to taste the beauty in the mess, and not let a bit of the sauce of life go to waste.

Enjoy the dance. Relish the messy. Bring a napkin

Notable Notables

to see why you should love Gina, you have to visit her blog: http://gitanablog.com

J also taught me a ton of stuph about embracing life in all its messyness. You can see what she has going on at http://ahumanthing.net and http://zebrasounds.net

Somewhere I read that Seal never put words in his CD cases, because he wanted people to hear what they hear. There’s something pretty cool to that (and I love Seal’s music). Here’s one of my favorite:

15 Replies to “Have napkin will travel…”

  1. Brother mine,
    Yes, it is a word but it’s spelled with an “i” not a “y.” 😉 Having now dealt with the insistent, demanding, not-always-offering-grace proofreader who lives inside of me (whew! she’s a tyrant sometimes!), I’m now free to say, “Love, love, love this post!”
    Seriously, I do. And part of it confirms for me that I heard correctly earlier this week: there’s a subject I’m meant to write about and submit for one of the MMMs. (Really? There’s a blessing wrapped up in loss of temper?) So thank you for that.
    Thank you for continuing, daily, to invite us into the shadings and nuances of your life. Your openness (and that of so many others) blesses me so much. It ever and always points me to the One who loves variety and offers it in more ways than we can possibly imagine, not just bicolored kitty paws.
    Bless you, dear one. Hugs aplenty are in reserve for you, and so many other things as well: shared conversation, sushi, music, laughter.

    1. Thanks, sis. It was actually bugging me, but in the rush of having to get it out, I let it fly (probably will go in and correct it later… Maybe ;-))

      Anyway, thanks for commenting, correcting, and letting me know it was confirmatory. And thank you for you. Love you much.

  2. Brother mine, I’m at a loss how to express myself succinctly. Been pondering this post (and you) since I first read it. What a pivotal age to learn of your sister’s illness and what a huge burden for you being the older sibling (I’m not sure I knew that). Your longing to help, to do all you could to help her heal, and yet she moved to Heaven…no wonder you crave symmetry and order! My heart goes out to you…and I’m so very proud of you.

    1. Strangely enough, this is one of the events that makes the lack of symmetry ok. It just “is”, and hte rest of my life is just dealing with what is. . Not that I don’t fight for the symmetry, but when things are (and Father isn’t doing miracles to change them), I just take what is… Sometimes I wonder if I should, as it works itself out in my life in both positive and negative ways… more things to think about…

    1. Definitely applies! Excellent post, Estrella. I picked up on something you said, and love it. it is”

      I copy passages that especially touch my heart, acquire knowledge and discover new things, analyze, interpret and appreciate those written words

      I’ve always been the highlight king, but rarely have I copied phrases… great idea. Love the rest of it too.

      So, you know that one of the dishes we make is going to have to involve eating with our hands and getting real messy 🙂 #growinglist

  3. Funny…I was traveling when this beautiful, powerful and CLEAN post deposited itself in my in-box. Firstly, thank you! You do me such an honor in your friendship and your expansion of my simple musing.
    I was at once touched by, and awed at your profound and extensive application of my quote. You took me places I hadn’t even pondered (namely, your OCD closet! 😉 ) and opened portals of thought that still stay wedged open and I’m so impressed by your honesty and sharing and I am keeping those doors ajar…because life IS one of those topics that kinda lends itself to further examination and self-chuckling. And you covered so many angles with my one succinct quote and I so enjoy knowing it opened those portals for YOU. And the irony is that the one thing you didn’t touch on is the concept that inspired me to pen that silly phrase: that the messiest entrees in life are those we order up ourselves. And I just keep shaking my head at my own “humanness” and smiling at all of us sharing this table, and these meals, with our napkins tucked under our chins at the ready.
    Thank you, my friend. For inviting me to sit at your table. Gina

    1. it’s an honor to share my table with you, Gina. I hear you about our own humanness… I find more everyday which makes me think of like like Benjamin Button… the older we get, the younger we become, for we learn how to really live life and see what is important, and what is not (like my OCD closet 🙂 ). Well, not AS important (I still *need* my OCD closet, hee hee)

      1. I’m looking forward to my future youth 🙂 (And I think I need some of your OCD for my own closet…have any to spare? 😉 ) BIG huugs, Gina

  4. I got here from Estrella’ blog picks and stayed when I saw the header with Frontier Village on it! And stayed longer when I read this post … and a little longer when I got to this part: “safe to enter into the mess.” Thanks for reminding me that, some messes are indeed safe to enter into!

    1. It’s always wonderful to find people who know about Frontier Village :-).

      Thanks for your comments on this post, Terri, and for reminding me of what I wrote… Sometimes I have to go back and re-learn the lessons I had received some time ago.

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