Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Atonement of Housework

I was reading Hugh Nibley this week.  In  Temples and Cosmos  he quotes a scientist named Lyall Matthew from England, “Left to itself, everything tends to become more and more disorderly, until the final and natural state of things is a completely random distribution of matter.  Any kind of order is unnatural and happens only by chance encounters.” 

The normal state of matter is to be unorganized, says Nibley.  However, something holds that matter together.  Or restores it. Atonement.  As Br. Nibley states, “’Atonement’ brings particles back together again.” 

The way Br. Nibley puts it sends my mind into many different paths of thought – a new perspective on the atonement, and its infinite nature, and why the Atonement that Jesus wrought is effective also for the earth, dirt, rocks, sand, trees, plants, insects, animals, along with brothers and sisters.  The force that holds everything together is hard at work in a far more infinite capacity than I ever comprehended before. 

On another tangent, this sheds new light on the role and responsibility of mothers.  It is the normal and natural state for my children to be at each other’s throats (well, not literally), and for the house to fall apart.  Entropy is a natural law and is hard at work in my yard and in my house.  And in my family.  (Another thought - if Jesus is the author of the atonement, let us say, of syntropy, as the scientists have labeled the force that holds the universe and the atom together in Nibley’s day, than is Satan the author of entropy?)

As the mom of my family, and the homemaker, Father in Heaven has given me the responsibility of being the force that holds the family together temporally and spiritually.  In my patriarchal blessing I’m specifically instructed in the manner in which I am to teach my family the gospel:  with patience, love unfeigned, long-suffering, kindness, and without harassment or pressure of any kind.  So, in order to be the force that holds the family together in the gospel, I’m not to use force at all, but love - the pure love of Christ.  A paradox.  As much a paradox as syntropy itself?  (By definition, a paradox is a seemingly contradictory statement that is nevertheless true, or possibly true.)

As a mom, I’m also responsible for caring for the home – seeing that the dishes are done, the laundry is clean, etc. etc. etc.   I am supposed to be the syntropy factor in my home.  And syntropy is stronger than entropy. 

My home is a microcosm of the universe.  The natural state of my home is disorder. If it’s the natural and normal state of things to tend to become more and more disorderly, then I can stop blaming myself for things following their natural course.  At the same time, I can view putting order back into the home as an act of creation – organizing my world. I’m the goddess of my home, with the responsibility of keeping it ordered and organized.  Looked at this way, it becomes a FUN thing – Divinely inspired.  I am imitating God, following the Lord, by caring for my home.  I am participating in a small way in a god-like and godly activity.  This puts new meaning for me into the scripture “organize yourselves.”  It’s like He’s saying in this scripture, “be like me.”  Which is exactly what he DID.

I guess the biggest thing I feel from this is the reduction of guilt and blame for the house being a wreck. Whenever everything fell apart, I felt like it was my fault.  Now I know it’s the natural order of things to fall apart.  Wallowing in guilt is foolish - it’s not happening because I’m a terrible person.  It’s happening because it’s the natural state of things on this mortal earth!  It’s suppose to do that!!  Which frees me up to stop fighting my job in all this – to be the force for order in my home.  To create at-one-ment with God right here, right now.  Not THE Atonement – that’s not what I mean.  But to be a creative force, a force of CREATION, in my home!  It’s exciting to think of myself that way.  It puts a different spin on it all.  It also lets me see that whatever order I achieve each day, it’s something to be proud of, to take pride in, and gratitude too.  Every little bit of order is a step in the right direction.

It also gives me the realization that taking care of my home, cleaning etc, is a spiritual as well as physical activity and responsibility.  Makes it easier to do somehow.  I feel like there’s a greater purpose – the world is wrong to believe its demeaning work.  Anything that is an act of creation is an important thing to do.  Fascinating.....

I wrote this back in 1998.  It's still true. Entropy is still barely held back at our house! :-)

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