Success & Mess

Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896 - 1940)

Success is relative. It is what we can make of the mess we have made of things.
T. S. Eliot

I have been recently thinking about success because I was asked what it meant. Generally it’s easy to pretend that you just know what a word means from context as you have a vague idea based on the other words that surround that one (the ability to discern meaning from context alone will earn you an A in most public high school English classes.) Context is everything to meaning in some senses; however, when asked a direct question: “What does it mean to be successful?” I drew a complete blank.

I like the Eliot quote above because it assumes that we have made a mess of things, and that is reassuring. I don’t know about everyone else, but when someone else admits that they’ve made messes of things, it makes me feel better about my own messes. Look at this (insert very successful person)! They’ve made messes and yet they have made something beautiful of life, too! It’s hopeful, you see. It’s encouraging to think that despite the mess, we can also make something of the mess we have made.

There are a few other people who have recently encouraged me in various ways that there is potential that can come out of mess:

Luz Bonita, my precious friend, who was laid off and then had the courage to discover it was only an opportunity for a beautiful, terrifying leap into creative independence.’s Jon Acuff, who assumes that the Christian life is messy, too. He's also discovered that Satire is a calling for him, which I think is pretty cool.

Julie Lee, a folk musician and junkyard artist.


Holly said…
hello! I did not know you had this blog. I will follow you, miss jk-not-rowling! :)
Anonymous said…
well-said, friend. well-said.