Column: What a Mess!

It’s a phrase I keep hearing over and over again lately. It’s being said about national, international and local events. It’s being said by men, women and yes, even some kids I know. It’s usually said with a large side order of anger or disgust but at times it also comes with sheer resignation.

“What a mess!”

It seems that a lot of people are finding that much of the world around us right now is in one kind of mess or another. Politics (of course) rank high for many people, but there’s a lot more as well. From terrorism and natural disasters to wrong way drivers on the Phoenix freeways, things just seem to be more than a little out of whack of late.

Then there’s history. If you look carefully at it you’ll see that being out of whack is how things usually are. In fact, like peace, harmonious cooperation and an orderly society seems to be the exception not the rule for the human race. This is just as true here in La Paz County as it is anywhere else.

Of course our little county has seen more than its share of messes of late. No one would argue that’s not true. And, truth to tell, I’ve said, “What a mess!” as much as anyone else.

But, as I’ve been told and often tell others, messes are an unavoidable part of life for we who are as mere mortals. Being in the midst of a mess, or even being a mess yourself, isn’t the end of the world. Well, not yet anyway, as the globe continues to spin along quite nicely. It’s what you do about it that tells the tale. A mess you learn from and use as a jumping off point to move onward and upward will be looked back upon with gratitude as a new beginning.

But a mess you just wallow in, refuse to learn anything from, and go on to repeat over again, well that’s something different. You know what that’s looked back upon as? Yep, just a big old mess, that’s all.

And that’s the real issue in our personal life, as well as our corporate life as a society. The question isn’t, ‘Are we making mistakes and messes?’ The real question is: ‘Are we learning anything from them so that we are less likely to repeat them again?’

So, before you start to throw stones at other people, whether or not they are local, national or international leaders, you might want to take a good long look at yourself. Because if you aren’t learning from your own personal messes, then it would be the height of hypocrisy for you to condemn others for not doing that either.

I believe that if our personal lives were doing better, then by extension so would our society since society is nothing more than all of us put together. I’m not saying that would happen either quickly or easily. But I do believe it would happen. In fact, it would be inevitable, because as the old saying goes, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

My personal growth does have some impact upon my society, no matter how small. So if enough of us can learn to live within our means, for example, then eventually our families, community groups and even our governments can learn to do the same.

Yes, that’s a pretty big ‘If’ alright. But it has to start with me, at home, in my life where I do have a certain amount of control of things. If I can make a change for the better there, then hopefully and over a long period of time, a change for the better can be made elsewhere as well.

Or at least that’s what I believe. It may not work out that way. But focusing on my own growth is far better than pointing a finger at someone else. All that does is make an enemy and, as the saying goes, point three fingers back at myself.

So, perhaps it’s time to think small, act small, and let small beginnings have a big impact somewhere down the road.

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Louie Marsh is pastor of Christ’s Church on the River on the Parker Strip. Visit his website HERE.

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