Hope Conquers the Chaos

As a writer, observation is one of my most important tools. Awareness of this tool causes me to listen for dialects when people speak and watch how their actions synch with emotions. This practice helps me develop realistic novels as I incorporate those rhythms into the characters who people my books.

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 the reality of lives around me.

Sometimes an image or a word surprises with its potential. I observe it, reflect on it and journal through it.

Soon it becomes a theme, a sentence that stretches into a paragraph or as in this case — a quote that morphs into a blog post.

Every great change is preceded by chaos.” Deepak Chopra

This statement pummeled into my soul like a snare drum in the early morning fog.

How appropriate when thinking of the last two years of our history. The chaos COVID created as it marched around the globe. The way it changed how we lived, isolated, shopped, ate out, and sadly — how we treated one another.

This chaos has forced us to consider the depths of our value systems, what is truly important versus the urgency of the moment. With stunning accuracy, chaos created change.

Yet chaos in our journey does not have to define us. We can process the changes and land on our knees — an appropriate stance for any soul-seeker living in chaos.

Gradually, as the murky concrete of change became our new normal, we learned to replace the chaos with a peace that passes all understanding. We could still find hope and joy in the living of a different reality.

Life is still a beautiful place to be. Still surrounded by love, joy, peace and hope.

We may dread the next chaos yet be determined to address the coming changes as better people. To approach our modifications not as we once were, but better versions of ourselves.

I believe it is important to monitor how we have changed, how we reacted to the chaos. We cannot learn if we do not reflect and analyze. When there is a disturbance in the force, the chaos of change may creep ever closer.

We do not have to let chaos destroy us.

Even the Divine Three warn that everything will eventually change. Foundations will shake (Psalm 82:5). Earthquakes in various places. Wars and rumors of wars. Peril and danger on every street. The love people once had for God and others growing cold.

We have seen past chaos turn into positive change:

  • Civil rights legislation making us more aware of how skin color divides us
  • Revivals around the world that pointed societies back to the God who loves us
  • A national conversation about the abuses of children, i.e. the MeToo movement

Experience teaches us that some change will never happen unless we embrace the chaos. Acknowledge how it happened. Fix its source. Make the important changes.

Sometimes I hate the observation that pushes me toward reflective melancholy. Growth hurts. Too much stretching becomes a stress.

Yet by changing what is negative and moving toward what is better, we become stronger. More able to face the next chaos with realistic expectations underscored by hope.

As chaos fades, peace can replace it. New normals can surface. Empower us to love God and love others in deeper ways.

And eventually, if we let it — the chaos will fade and leave a halo of shining Hope.

©2022 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved

The book of the month is Just for Today: Hope for Single Moms. Help a single mom reach through her chaos to find hope.

Hope When We Fall

It happened so quickly, I blacked out. Even now, I have no idea how I turned my foot on that last deck step. I have descended those steps hundreds of times. Somehow, this time was different.God lets us fall

As I woke up twisted in the grass, I was certain something weird had happened to my right foot.

Gingerly I sat up – tested my equilibrium – waited for the dizziness that never came. I scooted across the grass, hoping and praying my hips weren’t broken.

A sudden despair as I looked back at my house which has four levels – not a good scenario if I ended up on crutches.

Then trying to stand on the left foot, praying the right foot was not broken. “Oh God, oh God, oh God.”

Funny how we always cry out to God when we’re in pain. Sad how we forget to acknowledge him when everything’s just fine and dandy.

A testing of the throbbing foot. Could I stand on it? Yes. Could I take a few steps? Ouch, but yes. No nausea. Probably not broken. Hopefully not broken. The right foot, of course. The driving foot.

Immediately, the planner in me began mentally listing my writing clients. Could we do Skype if I couldn’t drive? How would I deal with the groceries? Would my son have the time to help me?

A sudden pulsing of lonely despair. The worst time to be single is when you are in pain.

Soon the swelling began, so I elevated my leg and plopped an ice bag on it. My son then drove me to Urgent Care for an X-ray and a meeting with the medical team.

Hobbling from room to room, I felt old. Hoped I wouldn’t need a cane, but looking for one when I felt out of balance.

No fracture, thank God. Just a severe sprain. Now I know how the Jayhawks feel when they land crooked after an awesome rebound. Feet were never created to twist.

A week of elevating the foot, more ice, anti-inflammatory meds and every five seconds or so a gratitude pause that nothing was broken.

Then the exercises – making the alphabet with my foot. This practice uses all the muscles, tendons and tissues. I love the alphabet. It is my writing tool from which all the words are birthed.

Then hope rebounded as I carefully walked around my cul-de-sac, hung on to the cart in Target without pain. I was healing.

God sometimes lets us fall, although I believe he is near to catch us in his powerful arms.

As we fall – either physically or spiritually – we are reminded how fragile we are. How we need God and each other!

Sometimes we fall because the world is a shaky place. It isn’t easy to keep our equilibrium or to stay the course when every foundation seems unstable.

And I think God lets us fall to protect us from further harm. Perhaps we’re heading in a dangerous direction, so God puts a temporary stop sign in front of us.

Or we’re in such a hurry, we need an occasional fall to remind us to slow down, to rest, to enjoy the best life has to offer.

Ultimately, as we take care of ourselves and return to normalcy – we begin to heal. Hopefully, we also keep that place of gratitude for how God catches us, how the fall could have been much worse.

Hope keeps us steady in our shaky world. Hope also keeps us moving in healthy directions so that when we DO fall, it won’t be so tragic.

Keep steady, dear readers. Keep moving forward. Stay in hope.

©2017 RJ Thesman, Author of Sometimes They Forget and the Reverend G Trilogy