July 31, 2013 by Erin
Order from Chaos
I just spent half an hour cleaning my air conditioner. Before that I was scrubbing the tops of my bathroom cabinets. Why, you may ask? Well, partly because I have a new roommate moving in this weekend, and standing on the toilet in sports bra with bluegrass blaring at 10:00 on a weeknight is the sort of thing you need to do while you live alone. But also because I love doing it.
Ever since I was a kid I liked that sort of detailed cleaning—my jobs were usually dusting and windows. My mom has this old Singer (that will come to rest in my home one day), and I could spend an hour getting dust out of every nook and cranny of that intricate iron base. There was something fulfilling about slow, focused work in areas that may normally be forgotten. (Don’t ask me why I can’t quite drum up this same passion for doing the dishes. Believe me, I’ve tried.)
As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized I love to clean for the same reason I love to write: it’s an attack on chaos. See, I believe God created with purpose and precision. He brought beautiful order out of overwhelming disorder, sense from confusion. But then (too tragic for words), sin flung the entire cosmos into disarray. And now the whole world, it seems, is bent on collapsing into chaos—from children living in city dumps, to broken marriages, to persistent dust bunnies.
But here’s where it gets good. God is a redeemer. From the moment we fell until now, he’s been at work restoring his original intention. But it doesn’t stop there—he asks us to participate in this grand redemption. He’s called us to bring order from chaos.
Deep in our hearts, we know this is true. Every cathedral, every novel, every business plan, every humanitarian effort is evidence that we simply have not surrendered to entropy, though science would tell us we must. This heroic impulse in humankind, this refusal to simply let things be as they are, this rebellion against disintegration is the very imago Dei written on our hearts. We were made to reflect God’s creative, redemptive nature.
But of course, we don’t always. It’s become clear to me that everything I do falls into one of two categories: surrendering to chaos, or ordering it. When I use words promiscuously, or refuse to trust, or let my sink fill up with dishes, I’m contributing to chaos. But I don’t want my life to be that way.
And so I write, and I clean my air conditioner, and I listen to friends and make dinner with family. These little things turn out to be the working out of a high and holy calling.
That’s really what Blog Wars is about. Creativity and camaraderie, taking time to reflect on life, recognizing others’ good work. These are redemptive themes. So to end this month, let me encourage you to be about the business of redemption. Plant gardens, bake cakes, design web sites, sweep streets, wipe kids’ noses, rotate tires, feed the hungry, sing in your car.
And whatever it is you’re doing each day, even the things no one will ever notice, take heart. For all these little things are assaults on chaos, and soon the death blow will come.