Making a Mess of Your Life
Updated: Jul 26
Carol A. Oberg, a mother of two grown children, retired to live on Gooseneck Lake in the middle of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where she works in her own “writing studio.” There she continues her calling to write both short stories and poetry and devours a vast array of reading material, “almost everything,” she says, “I can get my hands on.”
Carol was selected as one of the featured poets for issue 16 of Ancient Paths. Below, we share her poem “Making a Mess of Your Life.”
You can read nine more of her poems by ordering a copy of the magazine.
Making a Mess of Your Life by Carol A. Oberg
“Let your holy angel be with me, that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.” –Martin Luther
When I try to clean up ashes with a rag I smear a mess on the carpet making it three times worse than before. When I tell one little lie I have to create another to make it work, then another, still another until there is a ratty patchwork quilt of deceit covering up the truth that feels so heavy I can hardly breathe. I wonder why I bother trying to clean up my life and my neighborhood when everywhere I turn I see some kind of dirt that isn’t right. God created a perfect world. We ruined it, and the wages of sin is death. Yet we plant lovely fresh flowers over the graves in our cemeteries build churches with tall steeples to hide taverns, strip joints, drug houses. We put Bibles in the drawers of hotel rooms for kidnappers, prostitutes fugitives, adulterers to find. Every one of us, every one breaks God’s laws daily, out in the wide open but not many are eager to call anyone on it especially a friend or a loved one. Though it would be right it wouldn’t feel right. Every day I wake and say today please let me live according to God’s will I will try to keep my day, this life around me clean but then something spills, it always spills when you are wearing white so I pick up the first rag I see—usually the one I used before but didn’t get rid of—there, that one lying on the ashes in the fireplace.