stillness in chaos


One of the things about doorways is that they lead from one thing to another.  They are liminal spaces – a place between one place and another.  Doorways, hallways, passageways, are all entry or exit-ways to another place.  And when I look at most tombstones I notice that they too convey this doorway motif.  They look like little stone doors.

What we see in nature’s chaord (the combination of chaos and order) is that chaos and order overlap.  Clearly nature has an order or everything would be born deformed in a haphazard mess which would preclude further procreation.  Usually a grasshopper lays eggs which form new grasshoppers. Trees grow upwards and not usually along the forest floor.  But so too in wilderness, there is a chaos which goes along with the order.  Pathways wind and crawl over boulders which block the path while vines swing down as staircases for evil snakes and happy monkeys.

In the wilderness, things live and then things die, providing food for the new life to come.  Advent is a good time in which to ask ourselves “what in me is dying?”  “What needs to be let go of so that I may pass through the next doorway?”  The door may be massive, like a life transition from work to retirement, or health to sickness.  Or the door may be as small as this new day or the next hour of life after a bit of good news or a bit of bad news.

Human life on this planet seems to be made up of transitions which are punctuated by stillness and silence.  We are born, live life and then die; at which time we are plunged into silence and stillness.  It seems to me that having enough silence and stillness in our lives to be able to process (or even notice) these transition moments allows us to do what Mary did when she was told of her role in God’s hope – the thing she did when she made her “yes” – she pondered.  Pondering is an important Advent work.  It happens in silent stillness and it needs our decision to “make the time;” because “finding time” seems to be fruitless in a world in which computers fit in your palm, buzzing every few seconds.

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