song: mess is mine by vance joy
read time: 7 minutes
since college, i have really been into making playlists. i say since college, because my music choices before that time period were a little embarrassing and any mix CD’s that i made should probably not be listened to again. so, yes, my real career in making playlists started in college.
for whatever reason, it’s like the ultimate high for me to put a playlist together that just goes, that fits a moment and blends melodies and moods together in order to create an atmosphere.
i recently took a roadtrip to san francisco. which, if you know you california geography, you’ll know that san diego is on totally opposite side of the state. i mean, really, the california coast makes up three fourths of the american west coast. it’s a hella big state. but moving on — i had 9 hours in the car, no wifi, no book, no nothing. i decided that THIS was the perfect opportunity to come up with the ultimate road trip playlist. ‘nsync, b-spears, journey — you name it, it’s on there. as the sun began to set and the lighting changed to a beautiful gold with purple and pinks tones meeting the horizon, i decided to make a new playlist to fit the mood. i filled it john mayer, of monsters and men, kings of leon. you get the gist. it was perfect.
as we drove in the darkness of the night, vance joy’s voice began to sing and the only lyrics that i heard was “your mess is mine”. when i say that— i mean, we listen, but sometimes we don’t really listen. words are thrown at us all day long and even when we listen to music on the radio, we miss the message because we aren’t truly listening. but that night — i listened, i heard “this mess was yours, now your mess is mine.”
gah. those words… they hit me. like really hit me.
when i was in college — i was a mess. junior year to be specific. the other years, i was pretty normal. but junior year — that’s a different story. my world crashed down like the wall of jericho. it just tumbled down and barely left me as a survivor.
my life was messy. no one wanted to be around me, no one wanted to be associated with me. i would wake up, go to class, come back and sleep, hoping i wouldn’t feel pain anymore. i spent nights alone. if i wasn’t in my room painting or journaling, then i was at the park crying my eyes out. on my 20th birthday, everyone was “busy”, and i ended up parking my car underneath the bridge at the park watching the “pursuit of happiness”. life was dramatically pathetic.
a couple times, i had friends tell me that they couldn’t hang out with me because “they couldn’t be associated with me” or because “i was a mess.”
were they right? yes. i was 100% a mess. any person that writes “to be loved it to be known, and to be known is to be loved” a million times over and over in a journal is a wreck. that was me. i was a wreck. i was a messy.
but what i needed —
i needed someone to come along me and say, “this mess was yours, now this mess is mine.” eventually, my life got better. but to be honest, there were only a fistful of people who accepted me in the mess, who helped me find my way back to the light. the crowds weren’t there when life got messy.
since then, it’s been my mission to be there for the messy people. after all, i’ve been there. i know what it feels like to be isolated, for people to avoid you at all costs, to be the weird girl who is always by herself, to be in crowds but feel like you are more alone than ever, to feel like your lungs can’t handle any more crying. i’ve been there.
i feel like messy people are drawn to me. ask my friends. somehow, i always end up in these deep conversations, talking about people's messes. if you go to a social function with me, be prepared to mingle, cause more times than not you’ll find me in the corner talking to someone about their messy life.
recently, someone who i hadn’t talked to in over ten years called me and asked if we could talk. they stated that their life was messy and they needed someone to talk to. my heart… it began to hurt a little. of course, i want to be there for that person. of course, i want to bring light and hope to them. but what drove them to call me? why, ten years later, was i the person they thought to call? was there no one in their everyday life that could be there to listen and encourage?
it made me think — how often do we avoid mess? how often do we avoid things, people, and situations because they make our lives a little more messy?
we’re all guilty of doing it.
key word: guilty.
we shouldn’t be running away from the messy people. instead, we ought to be taking steps towards the broken pieces of humanity. they need us. they need the hope we have. they need the faith we have. they need the light inside of us.
you may not have it all together, you may not know all the right answers. you may be shaky and still have your own questions about life and philosophy, but that’s okay. you don’t have to have it all together in order to bring hope to someone who is more broken than you are. to be truthful —you don’t even have to say anything. sometimes, what people need most is not the words that we can try to eloquently string together, but our presence. our sweet presence that assures them they are not alone in this world.
our generation constantly says, “we want to see this world become a better place.” i believe we can, but change doesn’t start in a foreign country. it starts right where you are. it starts by taking care of our own. it starts in our own neighborhoods, in our own families, in our own communities. how can we go change the world and “clean up the mess” we see spread out across the globe if we cannot even take care of the messy people in our daily lives?
vance joy’s lyrics go on to say:
you're the reason that i feel so strong
the reason that i’m hanging on
you know you gave me all the time
oh, did i give enough of mine?
gosh. there is so much power in those words.
you can be the reason someone holds onto life.
you can be strong for someone else, when they feel nothing left in them.
the question we should be asking ourselves is this, “did i give you enough?”
i can only imagine what would happen if we all began to live this way. real change could happen. there’d be less broken people walking around and more hope.
it’s time we get real and ask those tough questions—
are you running and pushing away from the messy people, situations, and circumstances around you? are you pausing long enough to see if there is a need? are you giving hope and breathing life into the world around you?
we’ve tricked ourselves. we’ve told ourselves that everything in this life is about us and the most important thing we can do is accomplish our dream, but that’s just not true. the most important thing that we could ever accomplish in this life is being Jesus to people. first and foremost — that’s all that matters.
opportunity is all around us. so the next time you see messy — don’t run from it. take steps towards it — whether it’s a person, a situation, or a cause. everything you have to offer is enough. your words and your mere presence can be the very thing that brings healing to someone else.
this mess is ours.