ACW

ACW

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Untangled by Jane Clamp

In a blog about writing, I thought it was only appropriate to focus on a significant literary character. Admittedly it probably wouldn't be the first one you thought of, but nevertheless it is Mr Messy. Reading the Mr Men books to my son, now 26, was a rite of passage for both of us. Oh, the thrill of buying another little book - usually from a garden centre, bizarrely - and adding to the row of spines that would eventually spell out My Mr Men Library! Fortunately, he didn't seem to notice that the plot of each book was essentially the same...

So, why Mr Messy? Well, it occurs to me on a frequent basis that life is very messy indeed. We manage to get ourselves into all sorts of knots and tangles. Mistakes we make, decisions that seem different in hindsight, relationships that ebb and flow with varying degrees of pain and joy. All of these, and so much more, can at the very least complicate who and what we are. As I was ruminating on this, I was trying to work out - (being a passenger on the M62 can do this) - how long Mr Messy would be if he were untangled, straightened out, laid from end to end. It was impossible to get a definitive answer. I mean, how long is a piece of string?

But by far the bigger issue, for me, was that, of course, without his tangles, Mr Messy would not be Mr Messy. And without our mess, we would not be ourselves as we know it. Surely it is the difficulties we face and try to overcome that shape our own character, as well as those we create? It is how we react to disappointment and failure that prepares us for a greater life to come. It is working with God in our suffering that brings meaning and purpose to it all.

No, I'm not taking orders...

Some of our mess can get unravelled, of course. We don't have to languish in all of it. So, what can happen to those parts of our lives that do get straightened out? I've been doing a lot of knitting lately - blame it on my new status as a grandmother - and actually it is a brilliant metaphor for what God can do with our untangled strands. You see, He leaves us as loose ends no more than He leaves us knotted. Rather, He takes the opportunity to weave those loosened, freed-up threads into new patterns and shapes. The very material that looked so unusable proves to be capable of beauty in the right hands.

Take courage, my friends! God never leaves us as He found us! Splendour awaits if we don't resist His tender, loving tugging.






Jane Clamp is Creative Writer in Residence on the Sunday Morning Breakfast Show at BBC Radio Norfolk and on the Thought of the Day team at Premier Radio. She is currently working on a devotional for the bereaved.

8 comments:

  1. Love the analogy. Great way of putting it, that God uses all our loose ends to make us into who we are meant to be.

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  2. I love this line particularly - Splendour awaits if we don't resist his tender, loving tugging. So true. Have seen it so many times. So why do I still resist (WAIL!)?! Great post, Jane.

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    1. Still haven't cracked it m'self, Deborah. Glad I'm not the only slow learner 😉

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  3. This is a wonderful blog post, Jane. We too loved the Mr Men stories. I couldn't help thinking how your message harmonised with my post yesterday on King David.

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    1. More evidence of the Master's skilful weaving....

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  4. Loved this, Janey! I find it encouraging to remember that without my messes, I wouldn't be me - and that God can weave those messes into something beautiful. Thanks. xx

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