Nature, too, has its patterns that are both certain and inspiring. Consider fresh tulips pushing through dark soil every spring, or the colors every fall in Vermont, or the ocean tide that goes in and out in an ever present roar, or the night turning to day during every single 24 hour period. We need these patterns of stability in order to find our place in the universe, and in the heart of God. Patterns are, for the most part, ‘controlled.’ Uncertainty is diminished, maybe even eliminated, and we find this comforting. It is one reason why we are so quick to want to ‘control’ our personal lives and our environment. We crave the sanctuary of constancy, and it can actually be an important aspect of our inner peace. This is true with even seemingly unimportant patterns. Think of our friend from The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. His daily ritual of taking tea in the comfort of his little hobbit house was a time of delight and peace for him. He looked forward to it and did not want his ritual altered.
This excessive desire for predictable peace can backfire, however, because while God has made patterns a part of life, chaos shares an equal part of life. Both pattern and chaos are needed – both are gift. Our task is to discern when to find comfort in patterns, and when to swirl around uncomfortably, uncertainly, in the exciting adventure of chaos. Bilbo’s tea ritual was part of his health, and adventure became part of his growth. We need both in order to experience full human life and wellness!