This is the view out the door from inside my poustinia. I didn’t notice at first the shadow of the bell which is mounted on the exterior wall. This unintended artifact in the photo just adds to the meaning.
I have always desired and simultaneously resisted order. There have been seasons when order reigned, and others when chaos reigned. But the majority of my life has been more like the Western Front in Belgium during the Great War: a stalemate. Trench warfare.
In recent years I have come to understand this paradox in at least one way: My personal aesthetic. This picture gets at it. I love natural textures and materials juxtaposed with straight lines: rows of crops. A clearly defined pathway through natural vegetation. The perfectly straight trunk of a Douglas Fir against the winding limbs of a Vine Maple. I love seeing rough wood tamed (not FULLY) into planks. Vines trained onto a trellis. It’s…stewardship. Permaculture. Working WITH the materials God has created, modifying them NO MORE THAN NECESSARY to accomplish the goal you have set out.
There’s something so peaceful about this. The English garden (as I understand it) might be a good example. I’d like to think this represents the Created Order…though I might be a little arrogant to think I’ve understood this in any great detail.
Most recently, I’m connecting this aesthetic with my new understanding of how chaos worked in my life. I’ve always made “forts”, places of refuge, security and order. I remember being 20 years old and getting my first office at PSF Industries. I was given a little budget to get binders, a stapler, file folders, etc. I was so excited. Not just for the status associated with an “office” (it was really more of a Less Nessman Office!) but because it brought order. I got to organize it and make it…safe. I have many other experiences like this.
I TRY to manage my time and my food in such a way as to create this same kind of safety. But chaos is always pressing in. Threatening to take over. Yet, when I try to enthrone “Order” as the Monarch of my life, well,”Chaos” rebels: “Fuck the Bourgeois!” I’m praying that God will help me to see that this need not be a hostile stalemate, but a partnership.
God, please help me to reconcile these two.