Yesterday we spent a good part of the day getting ready to have the rugs cleaned. Stains from mishaps with pets, coffee, and grandchildren had added up to the point of a mess. There was some grumbling in the house during the process of getting things off the floor, especially books and newspapers that had been “saved” in baskets, plants that would not take well to moving, and just dealing with stuff minding its own business but now needing to be put away. After the purge, things felt fresh and calmer even.
This morning, at a breakfast place, the manager went about re-arranging the two patterns of chairs at each table so that they were in the order he wanted them to be. He stopped at my table to joke with me about having “OCD” but said that he just felt better when things were in order. I said back to him that most of us like to feel that we have some control somewhere in our lives, even if it’s only with chairs.
Something in us loves order. Something in us wants some predictability instead of uncertainty and chaos. Whether we call it feng shui or interior decorating or just neatness, most of us do better with “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Over the years, two of the most popular activities for my young clients have been the dollhouse and a box full of beads for sorting. Young children without words to explain chaos in their lives instinctively are drawn to sorting and arranging as they work out stress and uncertainty,
My heart breaks for the children as pictures from Ukraine and Gaza and the southern borders of this country show the effects of chaos in our world. Sadly, there seems to be no remedy on the horizon to fix all of this and put things in their proper places. We can, however, make and keep order in the spheres of our own lives and hope to be the leaven.