Yesterday evening, as I drove home after work, my mind clogged with thoughts of all that needed to be done on campus and at home, I rounded the corner to this view of the Sangre de Cristo mountains set aglow by those final intense rays right before the sun slips below the horizon. The Spanish named these mountains “Blood of Christ” hundreds of years ago and scenes like this remind me why. The unexpected surprise and intensity of beauty swept the weight of those Shoulds and Musts out of my mind in an instant.
As I threaded the car along the narrow two-lane road, the vibrancy of the colors and textures on the mountain above deepened and I started to look for anyplace I could pull off to take a photo on this road with no shoulder.
Two miles and one turn-around to backtrack later, I swerved off the road into a flat space, walked through the mud in my good suede boots, and found a place to snap this photo right before the sun dipped below the mesa, turning off the light that lit the mountain.
I looked down at my beautiful boots covered in mud and thought of a scene from one of Wynn and my favorite movies Letters to Juliet. In the scene, a grandmother, played gorgeously by Vanessa Redgrave, talks with her emphatic grandson and he tries to convince her to see things his way and says something along the lines of “You and Grandpa had a good life, except for the messy parts.”
“Life is the messy parts,” she says.
Life here often feels full of the messy parts, with not even close to enough hours in the day. I find myself thinking, “I just have to do this, and then that, and then..” Then I remind myself, “Life is the messy parts.”
Somehow this makes my heart smile and there is some kind of weird comfort in the realization that the messy parts never go away. They change and shift, but remain constant in their presence.
I took a photo of the slender branches against a winter sky last week as I had a day at home to tend to the piles of laundry, bills, and all else that goes with home that had collected in the previous weeks. The messy parts of life covered many of the surfaces of our home. It felt like forever since I’d had a day at home to do this. A fire in the fireplace accompanied us in our day and I reveled in its popping, cracking, and warmth as I folded clothes and paid bills.
Unexpected bits of beauty shine through the messiness; rounding a corner to an unexpected scene of beauty, slender branches against a winter sky, a fire in the fireplace as one tends the messy parts of home. Beauty and gratitude expand when we notice pay attention to them.
Gratitude amidst the messy parts.