Peace in Chaos

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The world is in chaos.  The streets of every major city in the world are empty.  It is like we are Icarus and we flew too close to the sun and now we are careening helplessly to our doom.

And yet we sit in our homes and stream movies.  We bake and we play with our pets and our children, and we try not to think too much about next month or next year because the truth is, the world is forever changed.  And that is scary as hell.

All we really know is that the world we knew of bustling cities and personal freedoms and regular paychecks and business as usual.  The novel coronavirus has recreated the world. Whatever we become after all this is over, and it may be many years before its all over, we will be very different.  

We had a nice evening tonight. My thirteen year old made dinner. We all cleaned up and played a card game together. Then we stayed up late and watched some science You-Tube videos about the immune system. I thought of how complicated it all is. There are proteins and orgenelles and membranes and cytoplasm and all of them are labeled different things depending on their function and their function can change when a catalyst comes to play. And then everything changes. The catalyst turns on the proteins and changes their function. Like so many things, the more you learn the more you realize you don’t know. And the more time passes after you learn it, the more you realize that real understanding is brief and then passes to become almost like a shadow.

My son took a trigonometry test today and I read a few of the questions.  There were sins and cosins and tangents and calculators and I vaguely remembered something about it.  Mostly I just wished him good luck. He aced the test. 100%. I was so proud. Maybe the knowledge will do him more good than it has done me.  Maybe the knowledge has done more more good than I realize. It’s hard to determine what’s really important when important things are so small and easy to miss.

As I watched the science videos tonight, I had a revelatory flash.  “God knows this.” And he does. He knows us and our immune systems and our bodies.  He created them, and the viruses that attack us. I almost reflexively felt angry at him.  “What is he doing up there making viruses and watching us die and suffer and struggle in ignorance about what is happening?  What kind of monster would do that?”  

When you start seeing God from that paradigm, your brain can go to a dark place.  But God isn’t deriving sadistic pleasure from our suffering. He isn’t an arrogant apathetic snob either.  He simply understands that some things are worth the cost we have to pay. Hard things. Bad things. They have to come because without them, we don’t get the good stuff.  I don’t know what the future is going to bring, but i know that he is in charge. 

I did my yoga routine tonight and during Savasanna I opened my eyes and saw the scripture I have in vinyl on my wall.  It says, “Be Still and Know that I am God.” It is surrounded by mandalas which are pictural representations of the eternal complexity of God.  I thought of the human immune system and how complex it is. Life is complex and this virus has been the catalyst of change. What those changes look like are largely up to us.

If I were to venture a guess, I would say that God allowed this to happen because he hoped we would stop being so prideful and independent; so convinced on our own immortality and control. If we could just admit to ourselves and others that we are all pretty much idiots stumbling around trying to get a few things right, we might be able to get somewhere collectively. When everyone thinks they know everything, there isn’t much to do about it. Can we be still and know that he is God? Can we breath out our own thoughts in savasanah and make way for His thoughts? I wasn’t able to tonight. Perhaps tomorrow.

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