In more naïve days, I thought of chaos as garden variety—dashing out the door with multiple children, one who lost a shoe, one who was sick, one who was cranky, one who inevitably forgot the book report. Or a messy house where vital things got lost—checks, glasses, keys, prescriptions to be filled. How mild that all seems in light of the recent wine country fires. As beautiful acres burn in Napa and Santa Rosa, people lose lives, health, mobility, livelihoods, homes, vineyards. It’s almost embarrassing to admit that I routinely grow concerned over a tight schedule, complex navigation, or the aforementioned lost keys. How small that chaos seems compared to the devastation in CA, Puerto Rico, FL or TX. How many there would be thrilled to have any shelter all to themselves, even a messy house!
Terrible tragedies DO re-align perspective. If any larger, long-term answer helps explain, it comes from James Finley, writing on Richard Rohr’s website about “the infinite irrelevance of laughter and tears with respect to the oceanic Love that loves you through and through and through and through in your tears, in your laughter, in all things.”
Whatever the chaos, it’s relative. For some people, it’s tragedy, despair, death. For others, it’s the more mundane matter of surviving the day with mild sanity intact. But ultimately, the grief or loss isn’t the final word. All, all is relative to an infinite love which saturates all things. Hard to see sometimes, but so sustaining!