Real Life is Dirty

One of my hobbies is Model Railroading (see my Train Section) so I read Model Railroader Magazine a lot.  One of the most common themes of Model Railroading is weathering – making things look older – dirty and worn – sometimes in disrepair.   The reason is to make things realistic – the trains and building that are “modeled” come from the factory clean and shiny – but life isn’t like that.  A building in real life – like the one on the right – has streaks and dirt on it. A train can be very dirty – full of soot and grime – maybe even rust.  We know when looking at a model that clean and shiny just isn’t right.

Remember the film the Matrix – the machines realized that a utopia wouldn’t be accepted by humans – as it’s not real to us.  I think life is really like that – in so many ways it’s dirty and worn – not perfect.  While there are so many wonderful things – it’s a mess.  We’re not perfect, our homes are not perfect, our kids are not perfect, our friends are family are not without faults, our jobs aren’t ideal – real life is Messy.

As a Christian sometimes it’s hard to accept that life is dirty – that things are a mess.  That were not perfect happy shining people who float through life without issues and don’t make mistakes.  Sometimes a church feels like most proper place in my life – and it just doesn’t feel like real life sometimes.  Maybe it’s a cultural thing – but when I get in a room of a bunch of dressed up people I feel out of place – like this is not my life.

The Bible presents a messy picture of life – think about some of our heroes:

Sometimes I don’t know where we get this self-righteous, self-saved concept – as it’s just not there in the Bible – it shows life as pretty messy.  People in the “church” make terrible mistakes – turn away from God, ignore and argue with him, hurt each other, etc.  Real life – the life we live – is quite messy.

There’s a scene in the movie First Knight that still sticks with me – Sean Connery is playing the part of King Arthur and talking with someone (I can’t remember who).  What he says is profound – “I can’t love people in pieces” – it’s the recognition that were are complex -that parts of us are great and other parts of use are a mess.  We’re not all of piece – so God can’t love us as if were all clean – but he embraces the broken and messy pieces of our lives along with nice clean ones.

It means we also have to accept that others are going to messy – that life and relationships are messy.  Thank God that he loves us despite it – and makes a glorious wonder out of the mess of our lives.

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