Monday, December 27, 2010

The Second Law of Thermodynamics

Sometimes I feel like Sisyphus eternally rolling his rock uphill—
the laundry hamper empty for less than the time it takes to drop in another pair of dirty socks,

the dishes clean and stacked on their shelves for a fleeting moment before they are out again,
coffee-stained and crumb-sprinkled,

the toys all picked up and stowed in their bins until I turn around to find the knights encroaching from behind the door,

and scraps of paper bits gathering in the corners, and I walk back into the dining room and somehow in the amount of time it took to walk ten steps there are toys and dishes and dirty laundry all over again.

It can be maddening.

Women have gone mad.


It’s like the second law of thermodynamics, which describes entropy—
the tendency for order to become disorder—
disorganization, decay, and chaos are always approaching, encroaching.

Just when you think you are done, something slips through, out of your grasp, and you are off again—herding cats, as my husband says.

Prayer can feel like this too, sometimes. Even as I recognize my failures and confess my sin (cleaning-up, as it were), pride or self-justification creeps in around the edges of my thoughts and my confession is muddied.

In the very moment that my heart responds in spontaneous gratitude I see myself—so rightly responding—and suddenly I’m no longer looking to Christ, but I am looking at myself.

Always turning back inward to myself.

The word entropy comes from the Greek, entropia (en—meaning “in” and trope—meaning “a turning”).

A tendency to turn…
the tendency of heat to dissipate,
the tendency of my life (my home, my time) to become cluttered,
the tendency of my circumstances to bring sorrow and pain,
the tendency of my body to break down and become weary,
the tendency of my soul to turn inward
prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love…

Isn’t it amazing that Jesus experienced entropy physically—
in his world and in his body—
but his soul never turned.

Not once did he turn towards himself, inward to self-pride, self-condemnation or self-absorption,
away from the Father.

What a relief it is in that moment of despair, when I see the ugly self-focus of my own soul yet again, what a relief to rely on the pure—loving—outward focused righteousness of Christ. To know that my salvation, my acceptance, my future hope are secured not by attaining perfection in my own struggle, but by Jesus’ perfect struggle—the perfect victory over inward turning, over spiritual entropy.

I can rest in this relief—
Rest, despite the inadequacy of my prayers and the failures of my devotion.
I can even rest with toys on the floor and dirty dishes in the sink.
It’s ok. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
In fact, most of the time it’s pretty glaringly imperfect, even when I think it looks pretty good.

And I think—for those of us dancing this close to crazy—rest is good medicine.


  1. Laura... so good...
    Thanks for this edification, and those photos- so very enjoyable as they draw me in further to your world... and your thought.


  2. Laura, dear,

    I just read ALL the blog posts. Okay, I poured a glass o', put on "Fairy tale in New York (Loser's Christmas), and read on. Thanks for taking the time to put so well what is so true. Cheers! I cried through all of it. Don't know if it was the glass o', the loser's Christmas, or your inspired words!


  3. Mom--Whatever it takes to keep from loopin' the loop, or are we too late for that? :)

  4. Laura, I'm so glad you are in my life!

  5. HI Laura,
    This is Carrie's friend Ginger. I hope you are having a wonder filled Christmas Season. I have enjoyed your posts, as they tell the story of the mother's struggles, at home, with young children so poingnantly.

    Blessings in Jesus Christ,


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