14 March 2008
Book Review: A Perfect Mess
This was a fun read asking some serious questions about the place organization holds in our lives. The thesis is that perfection in organization not only isn't possible, but even if it were, it isn't worthy of the lofty place it holds in popular culture. A certain level of messiness is inevitable and even healthy.
The authors delve into many areas of life to support their point, from the way businesses and hospitals are run, to the atmosphere of our homes. Even though some of their side points and applications are somewhat liberal in their assumptions and gave me pause, I agree with their foundational thesis. It reminded me much of George Grant's Gileskirk lectures on the messiness of the Middle Ages and the untidy yet high calling of living in covenant community; also of Wendell Berry's contention that modern and efficient isn't always the highest good.
It helped me to remember not to compare myself with my ultra-organized friends, something that I've been doing unconsciously for years. There are areas of our home that are cluttered beyond usefulness, and those need to be dealt with (and by God's grace are being dealt with), but I really don't have to sweat the areas that are a bit messy, as long as they still work. Those areas express some of the things that are most important to us as a family, those things that make our home unique and give it personality and warmth.
As someone who has struggled with organization for years, I found this book to be a refreshing zephyr blowing across the clutter, reminding me that some things are more important than neatness and organization.
(Can you tell I've got a bit of time on my hands this afternoon and am able to finish up and post some of these things that have been hanging around as drafts for the last few weeks? ;-D)