It has been a hard week at the LuapHacim home.
Our one-year-old has been -- to put it delicately -- disposing of his stomach's contents more rapidly than is his custom. Much more rapidly. Out of both ends.
Our nearly-three-year-old has been making his first essays into the exciting world of The Potty ("All aboard the Potty Train! Choo choo!"), with a fairly good success-to-failure ratio. Outliers still exist, however.
And the night before last, their mother became violently ill. This has lasted a couple of days so far.
So, between scrubbing "accidents" out of Lightning McQueen underwear, disinfecting vomit-encrusted mattresses, and doing more loads of laundry than you can shake a stick at, I have been quite occupied.
Nonetheless, my existence has not been some toil-laden, grim, unending scene from Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.
I took the older boy to the library, put up Christmas lights in his room, and had sweet cuddles with the younger boy (after giving him several extremely necessary baths). Since my wife has not been eating much, I made myself a nice lentil curry last night. (She does not normally prefer curry.) I even watched a few episodes of a favorite TV show and read a good chunk of The Non-Designer's Design Book, by Robin Williams (not that Robin Williams).
All of it -- the sickness, the laundry, the bathing of small children, the cleaning, the cooking, the reading -- made me ponder the joy of creating order out of chaos.
I came home from work yesterday much earlier than I had planned, since my wife was incapacitated and the children were needy. Toys were strewn, toddler-style, throughout most of the livable space in the house. Dishes were stacked in the sink, vomit and fecal stains were abundant, and I was the only one who could make it better.
So, from the disorder, I was forced to weave something better. The toys went to their homes. The messes were cleaned up. The defiled places were disinfected. Little by little, chaos retreated and order was restored. And when that happened, I felt myself re-energized. It felt like I had accomplished something significant.
I was reminded of Genesis 1, where God creates the world. Bit by bit, He forms light, land, the heavens, plants, animals, and people. He sees the work of His hand and recognizes that it is very good. My Bible's notes tell me that the Hebrew word for "create" in Genesis 1:1 is בָּרָא (bara’), which often means forming anew, reforming, or renewing (see Ps 51:10; Isa 43:15, 65:17).
I think the desire and ability to remake our surroundings are some of the most important signs that we are created in God's image. We clean things up, we put them in order, we drive out the chaos and confusion, and we embellish our work with some Christmas lights and lentil stew, or perhaps a world of stunning biodiversity (depending on our skill level).
Like the Almighty, when our work is done, we behold it and recognize that it is very good.