I absolutely love things in their place. More than that. I love objects creatively arranged. Crisp lines. Complimentary colors.Symmetry is beauty to me. And unrestrained, I could obsess over it.
It has been this way for me since I was very young. Growing up in the north, my bedroom was in the basement. I carved out a nook for myself in an area where there we plenty of cabinets and drawers. Everything had it’s place. And in it’s place, it had it’s place. I remember at one point, this will date me, I took out a gun that pressed letters into plastic type of tape and labeled each space. It wasn’t like there was need. I had perfect recollection of where everything was and it’s not like I was turning my bedroom into a marketplace and inviting customers to drop by. I suppose it was yet another way of making sure that everything was “just right.”
In college the behavior continued. I portioned off what part of the room was my own, and maintained symmetry. When I got my first job, I did the same. Posters, memorabilia, everything was arranged with appropriate spacing and angles.
Then I got married. Early on my wife was similar to me. She liked things put away. And while we negotiated over placement, things were pretty well organized.
Then we thought it was time to have a child. God thought it was time for us to have two. Two boys to be exact.
Symmetry went out the window.
The addition of two more girls and a dog, brought the family total to six and an animal. My wife didn’t have the time or energy to keep things in their perfect placement, and the children didn’t see the point. They were too busy enjoying life to straighten out coasters that had been previously used as Frisbees.
However, being a man and having the ability to compartmentalize, has served me well. I learned to carve out “spaces of sanity.” Currently, that is narrowed down to my study, one bathroom drawer, and one half of the bathroom counter.
I had a conversation with God today about my restrained obsession with organization and symmetry. (To be completely, honest, sometimes it is not restrained. If I have been to your home there is a good chance your pictures were straightened during my visit). Today, I was describing for God the great benefits of my organizational pursuits. My pace of life is pretty intense, and when it comes to accessing something I need, having things in exact places prevents a loss of energy and time. There is an efficiency to living this way. I continued with a bit more commentary.
He wasn’t impressed. I sensed God offering a question. Something He does quite frequently. “Why is this so important to you?” (No joke, while I was praying I was rearranging the location of the silverware on the table.)
Since I felt like I had already answered that question in my aforementioned commentary, I assumed that meant I had an awareness issue.
A little time has passed and I have no clear answer. But if there is one thing I have learned about the human condition, it that while God is quite comfortable with tension, we often are not.
My musician friends have shown me that the perfect amount of tension on their stringed instrument creates beautiful music.
But tension is uncomfortable. I think we spend much of our days popping the balloon, so to speak, because we don’t like it. So I am wondering... Is the tension there to remind me that I am not in control? Is my desire for order in disorder actually a whisper from the eternal part of me, reminding me that I exist in multiple dimensions and that the Father of them all, has it ordered and under control? Is the tension there to remind me to engage in relationship with the one who is all-knowing? While wondering, this verse came to mind, “And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” - Colossians 1:17