24 January 2011

In and out of chaos

I have been thinking, writing and saying the word chaos frequently of late, frequently enough that I've noticed.  Out of curiosity I've begun to monitor the word's appearance in my mind, off the end of my pen, coming out of my mouth. 

I shouldn't be terribly surprised, I suppose.  The news us full of if, of chaos -- the Tuscon incident, multiple successful attacks on police, the civilian political protests in Tunesia, the first three coming to mind, all of them occurring since the first of the year.

Those examples, however, are "out there."  And, the chaos that concerns me is closer to home.  As an individual I more or less commit myself to order.  And, it works, more or less.  Some days are better than others.  The bed is not always made each morning; the kitchen sink isn't always empty at bedtime.  But, oftentimes the making and the emptying happen. 

My ideal of having everything clean -- house, laundry, vehicles, dogs (not to mention grass cut, walks edged, leaves raked) -- on a single day, however, isn't going to happen.  And, even if by some miracle it did, I know full well the floor by the garage door would be tracked up before the vacuum cleaner cooled off.

I am comforted by two things, both of them observations springing out of the biblical stories of creation.  First, it is clear that it is built into us to want to create order out of the chaos we encounter.  We are like the creator in that way.  Political systems.  Parks.  Airline schedules.  Religious orthodoxies.  Traffic laws.  File guides.  Maybe even "someone should do something about ..." is evocative of that organizing, taming part of human nature.  I come by my tendency honestly at least.

The second comfort I enjoy is this.  On one hand God did get the satisfaction of bringing the project of creation to a conclusion.  God even had the pleasure of declaring it good, of getting to gaze on the results of those labors.  I envy that. 

But, that stellar moment of perfection didn't last long before the put-in-order stuff began to resist.  Has turned out to be a pretty constant battle ...

I seem to be in pretty good company.

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