Reader, I have not been diligent with the writing of reflections. The last three months of 2017 found my house under such massive remodeling due to the hurricane damage done by Irma. And it still looks like a hoard of barbarians has gone through my dining room! The room makeovers and design decisions are daunting. The New Year of 2018 brought on the additional demands of another ministerial position within my faith tradition. Thus, I have two jobs to attend to as hospice chaplain, grief counselor, and support to healthcare ministers across the country in my faith tradition. What can sound like a busy life with chaotic demands, the fury of the calendar, or the rhythm of living a balanced life going off center is an opportunity. There is a pace to be had amid chaotic moments.
When I lived in Florida, Hurricane Erin’s eye of the storm went over our property. My husband and I stood in the center of that storm’s eye. The air was completely still. The stillness bordered on sacredness. A holy moment of sunshine, blue skies peaking through and complete calmness. Yet, our human eyes looked beyond this safe space and saw thirty-foot pines bend like Gumby and debris swirling around as projectile missiles. Beyond the calmness and stillness of complete peace and serenity within the eye’s storm there was mayhem’s disorder. I have never forgotten the power of that experiential moment. It reminds me of the power of prayer. It reminds me that a Holy God is with me during life’s stormy events and chaotic demands. With God, I can pray for the insights, guidance of holy wisdom, strength to address the chaos with a steady peace and assured that all storms run out of rain.
The pace and practice of prayer helps my soul to remain grounded, assured, peaceful, and steady in the uncertainty of what life’s circumstances, work, school, traffic jams in Atlanta, relationships, pressures to perform or succeed in a society like ours. The chaos of this remodel, two jobs, and unsettled matters in life’s unfinished business is anchored in the opportunity to grow in determination. There is the opportunity to be content with self, others, and circumstances with a pace and a peace like that offered to me in that eye of the storm. There is in this timeframe of chaos a gleaning of wisdom, resilience, and find serenity. There is a chance to grow in gratitude, gain hope, and give regard to one’s own voice within the chaos.
Chaos in the void and messy beginnings was what God used to begin the art of creating. While, I deeply love the book of Genesis I will not give a theological lesson here. What I do want to offer in this reflection of words is an encouragement to consider the opportunities that chaotic moments in life offers us all. We are invited to be tested, create, learn, and grow from the seasons and moments that chaos brings into our lives. And reader, I cannot say enough about the connection of prayer as our conduit to God is our best hope for not simply surviving chaotic seasons; but growing up and growing well because of the opportunities chaos will bring us. Remember this verse from previous reflections, “God did not give us a spirit of fear. But of love, power, and self-control.” (II Tim. 1:7) We choose. I choose. But then this brings our reflection to border on the topic of freewill. And I will not add to chaos’s habit by muddying the moment in this reflection. Instead, I bid you peace and pray God’s grace guides us all through the resourcefulness that chaos offers us in finding ourselves, knowing ourselves, and finding God and knowing God loves us in all seasons of our journey: Chaotic or Calm.