Today was one of those days. I woke up filled with thoughts of desperation, rejection, and sadness. These were obviously not messages from God; because as I looked around me and reflected on my life, my feelings upon waking should be much different. I should feel joy, hope, and laughter. Fortunately, I’ve become awesome at shaking it off and quickly distracting myself.
But tonight, as I turned the lights off and headed to bed, the feelings were even stronger. Perhaps it was the sudden quiet atmosphere in my usually noisy household. In any case, those sad feelings mixed with exhaustion suddenly felt really, really heavy.
Which makes me wonder: have you ever played in the mud?
And I mean… rolled around in it, covered your clothes in a thick layer of it, made mud pies, threw some mud at your siblings or friends, and rubbed it out of your eyes? By the end of playtime, you end up soaked, caked from head to toe in a thick layer of goo. Its actually pretty uncomfortable to move in in your mud-plaster suit by the end. And now that I think about it as an adult, its really pretty gross.
Do you remember what makes it fun?
It’s the people you play with. Sure, it’s fun to play in the mud by yourself. But after a while, you get cold and bored. But, when you add another person to the mix, it’s a whole new experience. You daydream, and fling; you roll and squish and laugh. You don’t seem to notice the dirt under your nails, or your cold, damp toes because you’re in it together, laughing and not caring about the world.
I watched my kids run through the mud today. They giggled, got stuck, got messy, and cried a little. At one point I heard a scream from Ana that she had lost her boot in the mud, and Ian quickly jumped in to save her sinking sole. They had probably the greatest time playing that I’ve seen in a while, all while caked in mud and slime.
I reflected on this and I realized our lives aren’t much different than the mud adventures we had as kids.
Yes, we in fact are living in mud. Its all around us, and often covers us. It gets under our nails, and sometimes in our eyes. It comes in various forms of texture and discomfort, and seems so innocent, yet without the right treatment, it can stain and infect.
In careers, we grow weary of our schedules and our salary. In school, we study for hours on end just to make the grade (at least in college we do). In relationships, we grow weary of pain and rejection, often leading to complete alienation. We just can’t seem to find the right church or community group, and constantly complain about the silly details as if they mattered.
But the thing is: we’re all in the mud. And, we can choose to walk, play, and work in it alone, growing tired and weary; or, we can embrace the muddy hands of those around us, and accept the fact that we all walk in it together. We CAN find joy in the mundane, in the heaviness… we just have to look for it. And while we’re looking, walk alongside people searching for it just like you.
Here’s my plea for all who read this: if you’re not connected in some way to a group of people who care about you and love you for who you are… go find one! And if you know someone who lacks that mud support network, be his or her friend! Its amazing how one more friendship can change the loneliest soul.
Oh and, no need to wash off the mud… that’ll happen later.