I woke up one morning, a few years ago, having had the most cathartic and enlightening dream that I’d ever experienced.
I was hugely pregnant and had been exposed the previous night to more psychological effluvium than this hormone-saturated, fleshy dirigible of a woman could manage. I had decompensated, standing in the middle of the living room, throwing small, harmless objects at our couch. It was clear that I had lost my damned mind.
The epiphany I then realized, while lying there in the quiet morning hour before anyone dared called my phone, was that I detested chaos. Really, genuinely hated chaos. Yet, somehow, it had surrounded me like Pig Pen’s cloud for as far back as I could remember. Chaos sapped my energy. It made me surly and intolerant. Yet, I had surrounded myself with people who thrive on kicking up sufficient dust everyday so that they constantly infiltrate the lives of those around them. I saw them as clueless leaf-blowers in my otherwise tranquil neighborhood.
The word ‘chaos’ literally refers to the formless or void state preceding the creation of the universe or cosmos in the Greek creation myths, or to the initial “gap” created by the original separation of heaven and earth. [Wikipedia] It was time to close the gap.
So, I began to separate myself from the leaf-blowers and Chaos contracted geometrically with the each exorcism. It was delightful.
A few months later, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy by emergency c-section. And don’t think for a moment that the irony of such a chaotic delivery was lost on me. Chaos comes in all shapes and sizes. When my new Chaos emerged, four weeks early and weighing only five pounds, a sound split the air that reminded me of every documentary I’d ever seen about pterodactyls. It was shrill and insistent and in that moment, Chaos became something new and inviting. Chaos, thy name is Jake.
Fast forward seven years later, when this week I’m talking to my dear friend about her new puppy. I had already seen the pictures of the little white Frenchie called Boo Boo. He is cute; it cannot be denied. But the first thought that went through my head when I saw him was “No way I’d have three dogs. I just couldn’t do it.” But you see, my friend does Chaos. She stands over the gap holding Chaos by the throat and pressing it to the wall. She’s the executive director for a large charity; she manages PR for several other clients; she has three sons and now, three Frenchies. She owns Chaos and she does it with grace and joy and when a friend questioned her decision to get a third Frenchie, she gave by far the best response I could have imagined. “Chaos makes me feel alive.”
I realized in talking to her is that Chaos is not always a bad thing. Some choose to live in that space. Some people elect to drown and drag down everyone around them. But my friend? She skips across the lily pads, no matter how thick they grow and gracefully alights on shore now and then. What makes her better equipped to handle the Chaos as it comes at her? Attitude. That’s all. No more complicated than that. “It’s just more to love,” she says, winking her lovely blue eye.
Yes, girl. He certainly is.