Monday, September 18, 2017

A Chaotic Life: Is It Time To Surrender?

As the ringmaster in your home you know all about those afternoons when the circus is indeed in town, your home is its tent, your family is the main event and you are the one on the platform juggling, lion taming and strangely enough pulling things out of the oven like a magic hat magician. Yesterday, as master of my own circus I found myself orchestrating 5 different acts simultaneously! I prepared to head off for my son’s cub scout den meeting while arranging a quick return transport of a play date friend, whilst my daughter called out arrangements for a ride to and from the football game, and simultaneously I set the chicken for dinner soaking in the sink. Oh, and all the while my husband was urgently texting me about a KSL item I had sent him to look at. I had broken into a sweat by the time I was alone in the car.
Right in the sludgiest, thick of the thick of it I began to panic as I was filled with absolute certainty that my head was going to in fact EXPLODE with the pressure, and all that brain goo was going to get in the kids’ hair and they’d never be able to wash it out on their own and the kids at school would tease them and call them Brainy Hair McGee and they’d be scarred for life for sure!
Thankfully though, a phrase I’ve heard many times before came floating on the breeze of sanity, “Surrender to the chaos”. I shook my head, rolled my shoulders and continued ring mastering the circus of my life and family and ignored the possibility of head explosions.
Later that night I returned to that term of surrendering to chaos. Surrender generates images of armies falling to their knees in front of the adversary and praising the enemy with tears of defeat. Or in terms of surrendering to family chaos I imagine the toddler running naked through the house wielding half eaten chocolate pudding cups, mashing play dough into the carpet and drinking my essential oils. I see the teenager going and coming to and from heaven only knows where while the 8 year old jumps on the couch, the 5 year old plays in my makeup and the 11 year old stares vacantly at the computer screen while shouting insults at this brother, and all the while I am obediently surrendering and pretending I am so very zen when really my head is still about to explode with all this “surrender” nonsense.
Here’s the big Ah-Ha reveal…chaos isn’t the enemy. It’s the inevitability of living a life with responsibility, meaning, people and especially children. Chaos isn’t something to be fought against or given over to, it just IS. It is neither bad nor good, to be envied or feared, it is simply something you must learn to deal with or fight against until you’re weak and defeated with your brain goo in the children’s hair.
God created a beautiful and perfectly organized and formatted world in which we flourish and thrive, and he did it using only chaos and matter. So you see, the chaos matters. In fact, the chaos in your life IS the matter you get to use to create happy and well adjusted human beings. All that flurried activity is life happening and is the time for teaching and example setting so that those littles of yours can learn to ring master the chaos that is and will ever be in their lives.
Now, the only way you can use that chaos for the greater good is if YOU yourself are not chaotic. There’s that scene in the movies where the heroine stands still and calm while everything around her moves with dizzying speed. Your family needs you to be that still center around which everything spins. So just breathe. Find what works for you to clear your head, ground yourself and organize your priorities. If you can manage this then from your viewpoint in the center of it all you can appreciate the little still frames of beauty all around you. Your boys tying their first ties in the mirror, your daughter twirling in a sparkling skirt and fairy wings, your teen’s bright face as she heads out to soccer, your son’s serious walk as he readies for scouts, your family passing dishes across the table to one another, your toddler running to hug her Dad as he walks in the door and that moment of surprise when he lifts her in his arms and you remember just how handsome he really is.
Surrendering to the chaos doesn’t mean you lie down and let it consume you in its path of destruction. Surrendering to the chaos means accepting its inevitable authority in your life and letting it hustle around you while you enjoy the rush of its living breath on your face and the beauty it stirs up in the life about you.
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