Into the Unknown

Happy May 24 to all my fellow Canadians!! The first official long weekend of summer. For the Mitton crew, that meant heading up to the summer home… with all the Covid-protocols still in place and thoughts on respecting everyone’s distance. It also meant another weekend of boarding for the pupp-ers. He’s been once to doggie-daycare. He was fine. Yet, this mama is worse now with the dog than I was with my own flesh and blood. Kindergarten? Send them off kicking and screaming, I say. The poor puppy, though! He cowered behind us, all naked (they take the collars off for safety reasons) and vulnerable… and then off into the unknown…

“Reese”, off on another adventure!

Of course, the dog will be fine. The kindergarteners survive. The teens grow up. And the young adults move out on their own. Still, it had me thinking about that feeling. That vulnerable, alone, exposed moment we feel as we stand on the precipice of something unknown. It might be an exciting adventure that awaits you on the other side of the door. Perhaps one that you’ve waited for and dreamed of. Like, ahem, country homes and chickens. Or the valedictorian speech. Or your Nobel prize acceptance dinner. Maybe it’s the final visit to the specialist who has your medical results and wants to discuss it with you. It’s the parent-teacher interview you were asked to attend. Or the seniors home liaison who wants to discuss hospice options with your family.

Whatever is on the other side of the gate…good or bad…begins with that moment. You have never been here before. You don’t know exactly how it will all turn out. You anticipate. You might even prepare for it. You may have stumbled upon it by accident or out of no doing of your own … like a global pandemic. And yet, here we are. Living through history just trying to get to the other side. No other person has lived this day, this moment, of this hour, of your life. And each tick of the clock propels us into the unknown.

My family is giggling at me as I write up this blog post, because “Into the Unknown” is, of course, the famous ballade from Disney’s Frozen 2 where Elsa follows the “voice” in the wilderness drawing her into the unknown to a place where she finally belongs. Which, to some extent, is exactly what God does. He calls us to follow Him. He calls us to follow Him into the unknown. Into the scary, big wide world out there that whispers to us as we lie awake at night. (Not that I am comparing Disney to the Bible. I did that once. You can read about it here. But just work with me and ah, Let it Go, okay?) Many years ago, God promised His people that He will guide them as they travelled out of their comfort zones and into the unknown. Idols and false gods have no way of knowing the future, nor have they made the paths straight for those who follow them. Only God alone can do this:

“And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.”

Isaiah 42:16 ESV

Do you need this encouragement today, my friend? Are you standing at that crossroad of life? Perhaps you are hearing God’s whisper asking you to follow Him. Maybe you’ve answered the knock at the door but you need to climb back on the trail and keep marching forward. Or you’ve already been marching for a long time and are tired and in need of fresh ground. I’m imagining our dog on the other side of the kennel door running free and sniffing every friendly post along the way. Or Elsa flashing icicles at will as she glides into the unknown to a place where all the dots connect and things finally make sense.

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

It’s scary. It’s … well … it’s the unknown. All the same, the verse promises us that He will not forsake those who follow Him. Let’s turn the handle and walk through the door.

Hot Mess

According to the urban dictionary, a “hot mess” is:

“When ones thoughts or appearance are in a state of disarray, but they maintain an undeniable attractiveness or beauty.”

Often our place is just a plain old mess… no hotness to be seen at all. Recently, the dog has “matured” enough to the point where his “killer instincts” have kicked in … and no stuffed animal is safe any longer than 10 minutes under his newly acquired prowess. “Reese” goes in for the jugular (or the crotch?) and brutally pulls poor Teddy apart from the inside out! Fluff and floof fly everywhere… and we have to be on guard duty for missing eyeballs or bits of squeaker or other intestinal hazards… not to mention cleaning up the stuffing. The living room quickly turns into a warzone with destruction strewn across the floor like new fallen snow. Cardboard boxes also end up gathering in bits under the couch or dining room table. Dogs are messy.

Poor, decapitated chicken.

And then there are the teenagers… home alone to fend for themselves in the midst of online learning and a pandemic lockdown. Not only has my grocery bill gone up… so has the pile of dishes in the sink. And the towels in the laundry. Why do they shower so much? They have no where to go. Hot messes, indeed.

I used to think babies were messy… and they are. Ahh… the good old days of projectile vomit. Sorry. Moving on. Just wanted to make the new moms feel included. Anyway, I am discovering you really never grow out of messes. They just change depending on the season you are in. I suspect our retirement years will be filled with bits and bobs from newly taken on projects, or travel, or dare I say, grandkids?

I used to look at the fingerprints on our glass door and ponder. The window reminded me that the kids were happy, and our house was full of love and laughter… and messes. Messes are part of learning and exploring and being confident to try. Getting down and dirty allows us to feel the Earth and experience the sensations of the world around us. None of us “have it all together”, because life is messy. And that’s okay.

Messy can be a good thing!

The Bible tells us in Luke, that Jesus came to save the lost — the messy — if you will. Those of us who doubt, and question, and weave back and forth on our faith journeys instead of making those bee lines to the pearly gates. In fact, I think He made us with a deep desire to explore, discover and test the best things in this world He made for us. Sometimes, that gets messy. Yes, Life is messy, but Jesus has the dust pan and broom. He takes our dismantled, insides out, missing eyeball chaos and transforms us into hot messes. We won’t be perfect until the end of this life, so we must learn to appreciate the fingerprints on the windowpanes. Take the good with the bad, and rejoice that we are still moving forward… even if we weave a little.

Well, my beloveds, I am off to do the dishes (one more time), but tomorrow when I look in the mirror and my see that slightly wrinkled, finger-nail-polish chipped, post Covid homemade haircut reflection, I hope I remember that in God’s eyes… I’m still a pretty hot mess! And you are, too! Be Blessed.

Keep Away

Welcome back my friends, and thanks for joining me each week and taking an interest in our rather (seemingly) un-eventful lives as I share glimpses of what my brain processes every now and then. Believe it or not, it’s been quite busy in the Mitton household this week… we finally attempted to put up some Christmas decorations (although we still haven’t fully unloaded all the boxes yet!) and yes, I tried my hand at the citrus garlands (read about it here). We all have been working long hours and feeling the pinch of time. We also started our dog training this week. An adventure all its own. “Reese” is now seven months old and at that awkward teenage male stage — perfect to start training. *insert eye roll here*

Among the books and plans and online “games” to keep said dog entertained, mentally stimulated, and on his way to becoming the perfect dog, we learned that food is highly motivating. Typical for any teenage boy, right? But I digress… Training. We have been practicing our “sit stays” as well as something called avoiding the “keep aways”. A “keep away” is when your off leash pup easily responds to your voice and comes ever-so-obediently to just within arms reach – and then quickly dodges your grab – and eagerly runs in the opposite direction. All fun and games as we attempt a catch-me-if-you-can chase. Tongue a’ lollygagging all the while. Mothers of toddlers also understand this game… especially just before bath time or as you head out the door. Who needs shoes — or even clothes — am I right?

Okay, so you get the picture. Now let’s push it out a bit and begin to ponder with me… how many times have you played the “keep away” game? I’m just as guilty as my doggie. I tend to be an avoider. I struggle with the conflict or the confrontation, or simply just don’t want to give up my freedom for something that might be hard or challenging. I know I am not alone. Lots of us play keep away… not only with others, but often with God. Have you had that niggling of the Spirit one too many times to do something or say something, and you eagerly move towards the obedience just to turn away at the last minute? Even when our hearts are in the right place and we want to obey, our fears and misgivings often get in the way of the final commitments to get “locked in”. Those nasty little “what ifs” make us second guess, doubt and scare us out of what could be special treats and pleasant rewards.

Or perhaps you are a bit like Jonah and Nineveh. Jonah 4 lets us in on Jonah’s secret: He didn’t head off to Tarshish because he was afraid, he really was throwing a little pity party and wanted God to have the Ninevites pay for their wicked ways…not repent and be granted mercy! Maybe you “keep away” to watch from the sidelines as someone struggles or fails when you could be in there sharing God’s love and mercy. Are you out for revenge and eager to watch the wicked get their “just desserts”? Even when God calls you to love and compassion?

I’m here with you, my friend. “Reese” and I are both on the journey to learning. Both of us are in training to give in to the gentle tug on the leash and avoid the keep away game. And if you are here, then maybe you are on the journey with us. Or maybe you are just starting the journey and are getting “leashed up” shall we say in this whole following God thing. I encourage you to share! mittonmusings never claims to be perfect. It’s simply sharing the adventure as we walk along. And I am pretty sure the treats in God’s reward pouch are worth it. Until next week, my friends!