Sunday, September 23, 2012

who needs entropy anyway?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word entropy as a lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.

The hot chocolate spilled out of the styrofoam cup. It trickled like a dark brown river from the broken black plastic lid. The harsh fluorescent lights and the white-washed cement floor looked so mournfully clean. But cutting through the sterile blah-ness was a chocolate stream, winding it's way towards the drainage vent in the floor. 

I was in adoration the other day, and I saw myself enter the room. 

As she entered, she brought gusts of wind with her. When people enter a room, you can tell if they've been running or walking or tip-toeing. She entered the room at a normal, adagio pace, but con molto moto. She hadn't been engaging in intense activity, but she had been moving. She sat down in a chair, let her backpack slip off her shoulder and fall to the floor with a silent thud. She looked up at the monstrance, was silent for a moment, collecting herself. After that silent greeting, she unzipped her backpack and, Mary Poppins-like, pulled out one book and journal after another. Spreading these accoutrements of prayer around her, she then eased herself off the chair onto her knees. And then she was still.
Not that she had been making any disruptive physical sound, but you could see the noisiness in her spirit. And then she fell to her knees and was silent.

I watched her and wondered if that's what I look like sometimes.
I also wondered if she's that person who spreads her stuff all over a desk when she goes into class.
Sometimes you just have to spread out and fill the space you're in with all the little articles of your world. It's a little messy, but life is loosely structured chaos, not organization.
The state of my room accurately reflects that belief.

The other day, I organized my Gmail (my life is ridiculously exciting. Somedays I get REALLY crazy and clean the desktop of my MacBook. I know, I know, I'm a wild child).
Organizing email is one of those bizarre things humans (humans in developed countries with internet access) do in an attempt to feel like we have a grasp on our lives--that we have it all under control. Nothing makes you feel more on-top of things than having sorted the 25 new messages neatly away into color-coded folders. It makes one feel like we have a grip on what's going on in the godless wasteland of our gmail account. And if we have a grasp on the ever-burgeoning chaos of our inboxes, then by extension, we have a grasp on the chaotic mess we call living.

How silly we are to think we can grasp a life when we can't even grasp the mystery of ourselves. I always feel so foolishly accomplished when everything (especially my gmail) is organized.
But I don't think he who folds his clothes the neatest has hit upon the true purpose and ultimate meaning of life. (If that's the case, I'm in trouble, because my poor clothes haven't been folded since third grade). Rather, life is something undefinable and unpredictable. Something a little more mysterious and a little more magnificent. Trying to hold onto our lives is like trying to describe why O God, Beyond all Praising makes you weep for joy. Somethings have no name--they simply are what they are.

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