The Myth of the Tidy Package

We all love a ‘tidy package’.  At least, I do.

In my opinion, because God knows what you get on a bing search is something about manscaping, it’s because they are so exceedingly rare.

Life doesn’t present us with “out of the box” solutions to functional living.

From time to time, something may look like, “…and they all lived happily ever after,”  but probably I think that because I don’t know the back story is really, “They all lived happily ever after, except the alcoholic {insert relationship here} came for Christmas every few years and pissed in the holy water drank all the wine at midnight mass.

It does no good to go around pointing out every untidy situational set.  Okay, the good is that it helps the hearer avoid stepping in shit.

Right now, in my life, I have a hundred couple of friends who are going through serious business.

I found myself going through emotions.  Thoughts about the situations.  My opinions.

Oops.  Does my opinion matter here?

Not really.  It’s my job to be supportive.  It’s my job to hand out paper towels and apply the elbow grease.


If I am not, it is my job to pray, and not gossip.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking I’m called to help people turn their scattered, messy situations into “too pretty to unwrap” packages.

We live in a world, where it’s okay to say what you think another person should do, if you word it right.  It’s okay even when you don’t know them.  Usually, the solution to that other person’s problem is for them to become more like the person offering the solution.

Ten years ago, if you’d asked me about any of the situations we’re walking through with friends, right now, I’d have had quick, legalistic answers.

Today, I’ve think I might have learned that there are NO ‘pat’ answers.  Every word of scripture is 100% true, and God’s love, mercy, and grace surpasses all.

I’m not wise enough to have the answers for everyone, and grown people don’t need me to tell them when their situations have exceeded my threshold for messiness.  They also don’t need me to point them to the truth.  Especially when they are older than I am.

Or maybe they do.

There is no tidy package.

Eventually, most messes get swept into a pile.  We move on with a little dust in our coat pockets and a lot of maturity accomplished.  There’s no way to circumvent God’s process of perfecting what he created us for.

Any great creative work looks like a giant effing disaster for months before the outline of design perfection begins to emerge behind the mud and cranes and crowd of mostly legal workers.  Timelines vary vastly between similar works.  Projects overlap.  Some are laid aside to be returned to after a season.

It’s God’s business how long something remains un-perfected–mysteries remain unsolved, relationships remain in conflict, situations remain unresolved.

I used to do gift wrapping at a very exclusive children’s boutique.  I sucked.  When something needed to be wrapped, the older ladies would search all over to find ANYONE else.  In fairness to me, the shop didn’t buy bows, we had a demon-possessed machine.  The access to the monkey’s cage opened into gift wrap and he hated me and tried to pee on me when I was in range.  Any of the older ladies had been wrapping gifts for two generations when I was born(one of them had driven my dad’s school bus).  Why would they even ask me?

So I could grow in skill, learn to serve others and get good enough to take over for them when they were tired retired.

Eventually, I learned,

but there were a lot of messy packages along the way.


I am linking this post with Pour Your Heart Out @ Things I Can’t Say.


I’m sharing this post with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop, prompt #4.  Something that complicates your life. -Ish.



  1. I enjoyed your post. I especially liked when you said, “There’s no way to circumvent God’s process of perfecting what he created us for.”

    I so agree. The thing is, this life is not meant for tidy packages. Perhaps in the heavenly realm that will happen.

    The great thing is that our process of being perfected will be worth all the “messy packages” we have to open.

  2. jwilliams057 says:

    Sometimes it is so hard not to jump in and help when we see the people we love hurting.

  3. The only tidy package in my life is the one that give as a present…and even that one is more messy-perfect than tidy-perfect. Super post! 🙂

  4. I think when we offer those neat and easy answers, it’s because we don’t know the back story and everything else that is involved.

I love it when you sass me. Please leave a comment.

%d bloggers like this: