Before I tell you my story, after which you’ll probably think I’m crazy, I need to give you a little background and context into the things that have troubled and weighed on my mind for some time now. I had a falling out; a disconnect, with a close friend. And even though it has been a couple of years, it’s remained a nagging little phantom in my conscience. Since birth, I have always been taught to clean up my messes (thanks mom!): my room, my laundry, my dishes, and myself, yet just as a dark marker bleeds through a piece of paper, so this concept bleed through to my sub-conscience to the point where I assume it’s my responsibility to clean up the mess made by my own mistakes and failures as well. This disconnection between my friend and I felt like a big mess that I was responsible for but never given the chance to clean up. So now that you know this about me, I’ll tell you my story.
So here I am sitting at a table at a coffee shop, out of town, with no one familiar around me for miles. I had my laptop open on the table directly in front of me and next to it on the left was a book I was using as a reference. I had a stack of magazines behind my laptop that I had thumbed through but not yet put back, and on the other side of my laptop sat my ceramic cup of coffee conveniently placed on my right hand side. I was working on a short story, one I had been working on for about a year and was really excited about. While I was doing my thing, over in the corner was a friendly outgoing older lady with grey hair and a pleasant smile, in a green apron with broom in hand, sweeping the floor. At that moment I had barely taken notice of her, except to greet her back as she said hi, I was deep in thought. Then, while I was thinking about the story I was writing, I got an idea for another one, so I bent over to get a pen and pad of paper from my bag to add to the already crowded table I was working on, when all of a sudden I hit the table, knocking my ceramic cup of coffee all the way to the floor. My coffee was now ruined and my ceramic cup was in pieces. Before I could even stand up, the older woman with the broom was there to assess the damage and take charge. She began by kneeling closer to the ground in order to sweep the ceramic pieces into her dust pan. I stopped her before she had completed her task, hoping I could convince her to let me clean it up, since it was my mess.
She looked right at me, straight into my eyes and objected, saying, “Some messes aren’t yours to clean up, sweetheart.”
Being somewhat shocked by the answer she had given and realizing I had no choice in the matter, I asked, “So what can I do?”
She gets all of the pieces from my ceramic cup swept into her dust pan and she turns to walk away before answering, “Try again.” And as she walked past the coffee bar, she asked the young man standing behind it to make me whatever drink I wanted.
Once I got my coffee and sat back down in my temporary workspace, my mind repeated those words over and over, like someone had put my mind on repeat.
“Some messes aren’t yours to clean up.” “Some messes aren’t yours to clean up.” It was like God was talking straight to me, like he came down to earth just to wake me up. The mess I made, the disconnect between my friend and I, wasn’t mine to clean up, but His. God was cleaning up the mess so why was I so worried. “Try again,” she said. It’s time for me stop being so afraid of messing things up again and to actually try again. It was so simple and yet so extraordinary. It was God breaking his silence.