Sometimes I think that, if our house had a name, it would most likely be Camp Chaos. I want to be clear that this has more to do with living with three gigantic house bears than it does with the index cards and quilt scraps and seed packets and canning jars that seem to be taking over, despite my somewhat feeble attempts at getting organized.
My Lenten plan for releasing a bag of stuff every day, for donation or recycling or even trash, has resulted in a lot less stuff, and a somewhat smaller version of Stone Mountain, composed of too- large clothes still on their way to new homes. Progress, indeed. Not so much less chaos.
Recently, I opened my door to a client and, with great determination, did not appologize for the dog hair gathered around the perimeter of every room. I live with Newfoundlands. The new kid is blowing coat and not yet up to a spa day.
Somewhere, in the far reaches of my brain, my mom is having what a friend of mine would describe as a come-apart.
On my behalf, it must be clear that I picked up the big dust bunnies in the bathroom and provided a clean, neatly folded hand towel. One of the actually white ones.
We’re still juggling doors and herding this four-footed kid or that to a place they can help by not helping quite so much. Again, progress.
In the 22 minutes it’s taken me to write this much, I’ve preheated the oven, set out the evening’s protein selection to come to room temp, and made 2 trips to the door at the request of the new kid who thinks, but isn’t quite sure, he wants to come in.
Working at home seems to call for an extra degree of comfort with reality. Perhaps, even, chaos.
Chaos is not such a bad thing, though.
Just after 9/11, I was beginning a year of post-doc work at Pacifica Graduate Institute in California. We were asked to read a book called Archetypes and Strange Attractors. I’m so glad we were!
The author, John R. Van Eenwyk, wrote of trauma and of chaos theory, which has a lot to do with theoretical physics and fractal geometry. (Not things on my usual list of must reads!)
Turns out that, when we look carefully, from just the right perspective, there can be order, and even great beauty, in chaos.
Why, you may be wondering, this story for this day?
Easter which is about being really, totally present just the way we are, expectations be damned. And knowing that there can be grace and healing, for ourselves and others, in that.
It’s hard to conceive of the chaos of that first Holy Week and Easter. Mobs. Unimaginable violence. Fear. Loss. Grief. A sense of abandonment. Way more fear.
Absolute disorientation with no sense of new orientation to come.
And yet, as the old story goes, it did.
At least some of it. We are, admittedly, waiting for more. Lately, much more.
I think what we do, while we wait, is to keep opening the door in all our dog hair covered reality. After all, that’s the way God loves us.
I say all that knowing that your story may be different and that’s a good thing. What matters, I think, in this moment, is that we claim our stories of hope and compassion and order in the midst of chaos. Even when we feel a bit like kids with our fingers crossed behind our backs. Even when we’re only risking the beginnings of belief in something huge and compassionate and just.
Because our risks create space for newness. For order in the midst of chaos. And there’s a whole lot of hope in that. (It’s ok to toss the squishy, flourescent colored “Peeps” in the trash and go with new orientation. I promise.)
Blessings for you and yours,