Oh, Glorious Sludge

We aren't known in these parts for having a particularly beautiful February.  Or March really, if we're honest.  Sometimes we get a break with an early warm up and some crocuses and tulips sprouting up making us all go out of our minds with expectation and hope.  But the majority of a lot of these northern landscapes this time of year is dirty snow, slush, and sludge.  Roadsides are filled with grayish-black covered piles of old snowfall and any cravat in the ground is usually filled with brown water.  It's not the prettiest.  

This year will only be further example of that.  With the record breaking cold February we had plus the three feet of snow that has been sitting in yards for over a month, there is a lot of melting to do and consequently, lots of sludge to get through.  I'm realizing this year, though, that as much as I want to forget the winter and get right on to a beautiful warm spring and summer, the necessity of the sludge.

Not many people like the sludge and the dirty snow but it is a necessary part of warming the frozen earth and bringing spring.  The sun warms, the ice thaws, the mess is made, the earth is restored.

How like the earth my soul is.
I want the ice to thaw, the wounds healed, the sin forgiven
but Lord, please let's skip that messy part, shall we?  

I mean, He could do it, right?

Just as He could in the blink of a moment, remove the ice and snow from the landscape and replace it with perfect sunny days and flowers blooming and the warmth seeping into bare skin, He could touch our souls and we could be instantly made right again…our wounds healed, our hearts melted, our souls an example of perfect love and goodness and completely conformed to His.

And sometimes He does do that.
The profound conversion, the intense moment of felt grace, the healing of the hemorrhage with a simple touch of His garment.

But more often, it's not like that.
More often our healing requires a whole lot of sludge.
Very often healing those deep wounds is messy business.  It requires a gradual thaw so as not to create an even more traumatic flood.  It requires the messiness of the thaw and the mud and the sludge and our souls being just a little barren and messy.  

We could just stay content with our hearts a little bit frozen all the time, the landscape of our souls whitewashed and proper…maybe a little bit uninviting, yes, but at least avoiding the icky mess of the thaw.  

Or we can allow the thaw to happen.  
For the sun to shine and melt and bring with it the messiness of true healing.  We can, with the warm rays of His grace, get through the sludge of uncomfortable conversations and people peeking into our deepest wounds and the messiness of revisiting memories and hurts long past so that our souls can truly be warmed by the sun and prepared for the spring.  Sometimes it requires the vulnerability of the repeated trips to the Confessional.  Sometimes healing requires the sludge.  Sometimes finding our souls in a new springtime of grace requires a lot of mud and messiness and thawing of the earth.  Sometimes true soul-deep healing means we need to let our lives be a little messy in front of others and God.  We need to have the muddy conversations and probe a bit into the sludge of our wounds and endure a bit of allowing our dirty snow to be exposed so that it can be warmed by light of the Son.

Sometimes it is only through the mud that the healing can come.

"Having said these things, he spit on the ground 
and made mud with the saliva. 
Then he anointed the man’s eyes 
with the mud and said to him, 
“Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). 
So he went and washed and came back seeing."

(from today's optional Gospel from John 9)

{Sunday Scripture Snapshots}

1 comment

  1. This post spoke to me, not least because of what i'm experiencing in my pregnancy right now! thank yoU!


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