As a writer, observation is one of my tools. Awareness of this tool causes me to listen for dialects as people talk and later incorporate those rhythms into the characters who people my novels.
Observation notes interesting quirks such as the depth of a dimple, a spontaneous laugh, or fingers drumming on a barn wood plank. The benefits of observation add color and texture to my words without plagiarizing on the lives before me.
Observation also pays attention to whatever presents itself. Sometimes a graphic or a word suddenly surprises with its potential. I see it, reflect on it, and journal through it. Soon it becomes a theme, a sentence that stretches into a paragraph or a graphic that morphs into a blog post.
A recent graphic read, “All great changes are preceded by chaos.” No attribution, but the words pummeled into my soul like a snare drum in the early morning fog of band practice.
Chaos in the Journey. How appropriate is chaos for describing the journey so many travel. Years ago, the chaos of searching for a church forced me to consider the depths of my spiritual hunger. What my faith taught me, either wrongly or with stunning accuracy.
The journey and the change — the processing of who I am at the core flattened me. I landed on my knees. An appropriate stance for any soul-seeker living in chaos.
Gradually, the chaos eased as I settled into a choice. Replaced by the peace that passes all understanding. My decision radiated with joy, maybe because of the choice. Maybe because the search had ended — for a time.
Many of us live in various chaotic circumstances. We find ourselves restless, seeking change yet dreading the chaos. We feel the rumbles of chaos in our nation. Within our churches and our jobs. Within the rollercoaster of the stock market.
We face the certainty that the current chaos will indeed result in some kind of change.
Chaos in the Circumstances. Aging seems to magnify change. The power of observation settles more deeply in my soul as I recognize the changes.
As Mom journeyed through Alzheimer’s, changes in her routine created anxiety. So we had to carefully monitor her daily choices, then made the choice of assisted living that took most of her options away.
The chaos of her changes continued even as we walked through that final change of moving Mom from the facility to the cemetery.
The Divine One warns, “Everything will change. The foundations are shaken.” (Psalm 11:3)
Perhaps the circumstantial chaos that threatens our world these days will result in a global revival where we perceive each other through a different lens. Would it not be wonderful if skin color no longer divided us into urban and rural, poor and rich, dead and alive?
Would it not be beautiful if denominational chaos resulted in the search for the depths of God’s love rather than the judgment of our religious differences?
I so wish change would eliminate broken children, abused women, and toxic relationships. Please God, let it be.
Yet experience teaches that change cannot occur without some sort of chaos. Change implies growth and as we stretch — albeit with resultant pain — we can eventually grow stronger.
May God help us as we face whatever chaos is ahead. May each of us find our own place within this changing world and make it a better place to call home.
And may we stay in hope that after the chaos fades, peace will be restored.
©2023 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
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