So we’re engagement-picture official….we’re getting married.
Joseph and I spent the day together out of town, and returned to the house about forty minutes before we were supposed to meet our photographer. I ran into my parent’s house, or rather, the sauna. The air conditioning was shot, and the temperature was easily at 85 degrees inside. I was melting. I could’t find any of my clothes, shoes and all those things that I should have set out the night before to make things easier. As my status quickly slipped to melting-puddle-of-emotions, I could see what I was doing – I was stressing out over something as small as what my hair looked like or whether my dress was ironed.
I ran haphazardly to the car, misplaced my checkbook and sighed. Joseph asked me how I was doing, he could see I was stressed. He was right – and it was all over something small. So I shook my head and began to realize the frivolousness of all my worrying.
In a last ditch effort to fix chapped lips, I pulled out a tube of lipstick from my purse, which had been sitting in a hot car all day. Upon opening the tube, liquid lipstick fell out onto my dress, leaving a magenta splotch. I started laughing because if I couldn’t see the humor in it all, I was going to break.
And all I could think was “Thank you Lord, for keeping me humble.” I had done all I could to look ‘perfect,’ but my human messiness kept getting in the way. I realized that I didn’t need to look perfect. Once I paused and pulled back from the situation, I saw the beauty of it. I was taking engagement pictures with a man who I am head-over-heels in love with. That day we had spent the whole day together on a date that he had custom made exactly to the desires of my heart. And I was getting married to him. I could care less about the fact that I was dripping in sweat. That magenta stain on my dress matched the purple in his shirt, it was all good.
And then we got a beer afterward and the night finished beautifully. I sank into bed around midnight and couldn’t stop smiling. God is so good, despite my worries. I’m an incredibly blessed woman, no doubt about it.
Then I woke up the next morning covered in red bug bites. Covered may be under-exaggerating. I looked like a red-spotted cheetah, covered in spots from my stomach to upper thighs. The pictures in the field had turned out incredible, but the little bugs in the tall grass must have found us pretty attractive too, or at least pretty tasty.
I scratched and scratched, tried to offer it up and went back to scratching. Pretty soon my skin was raw, bug bites were sticking to my clothes and I was miserable. I made a grocery store run for Cortizone, and found it to be the best $5 I have ever spent in my life.
That night I caught up with some dear friends of mine. All the coffee shop tables were taken (what can I say, everyone has good coffee shop selecting taste) so we wandered outside and splayed out over a bench and on the sidewalk. And midway through the chat I found I was sitting in the middle of an ant pile. I can’t make this up, you guys.
So last night I sank into a an oatmeal bath, dosed up on children’s aspirin and looking like a strawberry pop tart (the one with sprinkles on it). And I realized something amazing – besides the fact that oatmeal not only tastes good AND relieves the throbbing of severe bug bites. There is a beauty in the mess of human life.
While our engagement picture looks stunning (am I marrying the most handsome man in the world or what?), the beauty of the background story makes me smile even more. We often get caught up in pristine appearances, the lie of perfectionism and making sure every hair is in place. We squish human mistakes down and ignore flaws so we can maintain the false sense of having it all together. But a few hundred bug bites and a lipstick stain on my dress have taught me different. The memories are made in the mess…and we should enjoy life to the fullest despite, and perhaps because of, the little hiccups along the way.
Life isn’t perfect, people (me included) are messy. Let’s enjoy it and be thankful for a God that loves us regardless of our messes.