I am a mess.
This is no secret. For a long time, I tried to hide it, I tried to pretend that I had it all together. Eventually, I gave up, and though I lost some friends in the process, I learned who I was. Who I am.
I used to hear this phrase a lot in college: “You are one of God’s masterpieces.” It was more often directed towards women, I think in an attempt to foster positive self-image, but every time I heard it, I always thought, “I really don’t feel like much of a masterpiece.”
When we think of masterpieces, we think of the Mona Lisa or the Sistine Chapel or similar works. We think of works of art praised for their beauty. They are whole, complete, finished, beautiful works. Nobody wanted to see Michelangelo’s sketches–that’s probably why he burned them–but people flock in hundreds to see his finished product.
Masterpieces are, in our minds, finished.
I am not. I continue to change, for better and worse, with every day that passes. At no point have I ever modeled perfection. I eat too much cheese. I refuse to check my voicemails. I complain about everything. I have panic attacks at 5 a.m. about being stuffed in lockers. I forget my glasses and miss turns when I drive. I get angry and yell and swear too much. I laugh at funerals and cry when babies are born. I have experienced many things that have left scars on my body and my soul.
I am a mess.
But maybe that’s the masterpiece. Maybe we aren’t Mona Lisas or Sistine Chapels. Maybe we are more like mosaics. We’re made up of broken pieces of other things, pieces that are being added with every day that passes. We’re made of a million colors of joy and anger and sadness and peace and every other experience we’ve ever had. We are full of intricacy and complexity and beauty.
Our brokenness brings forth fullness, but never completion.
We are works in progress.
We are eternally unfinished.
And that, my friends, is beautiful.