May 27th, 2007 by Sonja

I read somewhere, recently and I can’t remember where, that we exist mostly in the borderlands between chaos and order. We live in that tension between the two. If our world were to slip into complete chaos, well, everything would fall out of place and fly around. But, alternatively, if we lived in a perfectly ordered world where nothing ever went wrong that, too would have it’s own set of problems. The writer used the allegory of a waterfall with the smooth pool at the top to symbolize order and jumbled mess at the bottom to symbolize chaos, but it’s that rhythmic pulse of water falling in the middle that we live in … those borderlands. Where things are always just barely in order and always almost slipping out of our hands.

I loved that analogy. It really helped me to think through my life and see my house more clearly. I’ve been working my way through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I’m doing it for a number of reasons. I started because my psychiatrist recommended it. But he recommended it because I found a website of an old friend and the website made me jealous. Well, jealous is not quite the right word for it. It wakened old dreams and sent them surging up to the top of the pool again. I told my psychiatrist about this website and my friend and how focussed my friend seemed and how scattered I seem. That was the moment when I got a doctor’s note to quit my day job (such as it is) and begin quilting. To focus on that as who I am. He also recommended this book. It’s the first self-help book which has made sense to me. I have many of them. Too many, perhaps. But this one — this one fits me.

It’s encouraging me to do some other things. Things like haul out my books and begin to design a Native American quilt that I’ve wanted to do for several years. Begin to write some longer pieces of more fictional writing. Begin to take Arabic. Begin to do some biblical research on some questions I have about some women in ministry issues. In other words, begin to live my life again. Pick up where I left off before the conservative church got ahold of me 17 years ago and tried to fit my round peg into their square hole … for no other reason than that the conservative church is afraid of chaos.

What I learned there is that the conservative church lives not in the borderlands, but in fear. The conservative church seems to believe that in order to be in “God’s will” they must swim to the pool at the top of the waterfall. Or manipulate conditions such that they manage to live in that pool. But reality in this life and this world dictates that we live inside the waterfall itself. If you have ever sat near a waterfall and watched it for any length of time, you will begin to notice that there is a rhythm and rhyme to the falling water. There is beauty there. The falling water can be predicted and controlled to a certain extent.

So, for me … I am learning how to love God and my neighbor from within the waterfall. What will that look like? What is my waterfall going to be? Where are my borderlands? Have I told you that I love a good swim …

3 Responses  
  • Paul writes:
    May 28th, 20079:40 amat

    i wonder if anyone really ever loves chaos? your post reminded me how God uses creativity to bring order – in the beginning chaos and then creation – God’s unfolding commission is for us to join in in that ongoing work of bringing order, tending and caring for creation…

    Maybe then it is about discovering how we can participate in God’s ongoing mission, using our creativity that has been given us?

  • Ken writes:
    May 30th, 20077:20 amat

    Beautiful analogy, similar to a concept of life that I have held for quite some time. I also like Henri Nouwen’s notion that life is lived in the “interruptions” of our day, that it is in those chaotic moments that we choose to be alive and learn from the moment…

  • Subversive Influence » Blog Archive » Random Acts of Linkage #15 writes:
    June 23rd, 20071:51 pmat

    […] Sonja: Borderlands, our existence between chaos and order. […]

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