I recently judged a parade. Each of us judges received a list of parade entries. We could make notes throughout the parade, then we’d meet to discuss our thoughts and determine our combined rankings.
Then the parade began.
We quickly learned something about the list we’d been given.
It wasn’t in order: not in alphabetical order and not in parade lineup order. Some of the parade entries weren’t even on the list, and some entries didn’t have good enough signage for us to identify who they were.
We might have spent more time trying to make sense of the list than looking at and enjoying the parade. We’d help each other make sense of the list and the parade entries. We’d jot quick notes, as long as our frozen pens worked.
It reminded me a bit of life.
We’d prefer everything to be linear, ordered, and sensical. But if it was, perhaps we’d just casually stand by and observe, ooh and aah, and judge. Instead, we are somewhat forced to connect with others, share what we think and know, begin to put some pieces in order, realizing we really don’t have all the pieces to begin with (or the end with). We face challenges because there is worth in those challenges. We get to choose how we meet them. We get to choose how we respond and how we let them change us. We get to grow through them if we want.
This organized list-lover is learning to embrace the disorder of life, too. Knowing I can’t control it all is strangely comforting as I trust One who does. True growth isn’t about making sense of it all; it’s about forward motion and finding beauty through the mess.