So This is Beautiful Chaos...
Jan. 1, 2019
When I was in eighth grade, one of my favorite women of all time looked at me after a really sucky kind of day that was ending with an uncharacteristically serene moment-- the kind that refuels not only your body but also your soul from just being apart of it, and said,
"Sometimes the most peaceful moments in life are filled with beautiful chaos."
I had not the slightest clue in this world what she meant then, and it honestly wasn't until last summer when I watched the children's minister and the children's ministry intern, children and parents alike all running around dumping, throwing, and splattering paint onto one another. It was pure chaos, but boy was it beautiful to hear the sound of laughter and squeals of joy mixed into the hot summer sun. It isn't often adults tell kids to get dirty and most especially not at church. Glitter glue, paint, water… barefoot on the ballfield despite many warning against fire ants and sandspurs. It was pure chaos, but it was also pure joy. At that moment I felt a weight was lifted off of my chest that had been there so long I forgot I was carrying it. In the midst of the all-out paint war, I felt at peace.
A few weeks later after VBS had come and gone, I stood in the middle of a storage space tucked in the back of the children's suite that is aptly named "the room of requirement." Chances are if you need something obscure anywhere in the range of super creepy cat pillow all the way to about three dozen shoe boxes, that's that place to go. In the days immediately following VBS, it was also the home to all of the trees in the church, several rugs, and just about anything else that had been scattered around our very own little "Babylon" that needed to find a home before the service on Sunday. Once again I found myself in the midst of chaos as one so often does when they start to clean. It has to get a lot worse before it can get better. I caught myself laughing at the ridiculous things I pulled out of that room and found myself experiencing a different kind of bliss than I had at Messy Art night. This wasn't about hearing the voice of God for the first time through the laughter of little children; this was finding beauty in the mundane.
I caught myself thinking about that day when I first heard the phrase "beautiful chaos," and I smiled because it clicked with me. Moments like an outdoor concert that welcomes dogs, a floor so covered in props and Easter baskets you can hardly move, adults covered in paint by children, or a second grader who yells out the answer to a rhetorical question the pastor poses during the service are serene little blips in the midst of the craziness if you let them be. Beautiful Chaos isn't the same peace you feel in the eye of the storm; it's the elation and joy you find in the small things at the end of a long day that seems crazy on the outside. The moments you can't put into words but make you unbelievably happy when you look back on them… those moments are beautifully chaotic and when I look back at my life when I'm old and grey, I want my memories to be covered in them.