The Magic and Madness of Mobiles (Constancy and Change in Our Lives)

Edith Schaeffer has shaped the way I think of family and life. In one of her books, she uses the simile of life as a mobile, constantly shifting and moving, never static or completely stationary. It sounds so poetic and so artistic. I love thinking about all the delicate moving pieces, gently suspended, shifting and shining in magical ways.

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Sometimes, though, the reality of life as a constantly changing mobile maddens me. I love control, order and predictability. I am off-the-charts methodical. I loved organic chemistry because its nomenclature system was ironclad. I love organizing closets as much as my kiddos love destroying them.  I resist change, even in the form of a modest rearranging of furniture or a new brand of bread.

Don’t get me wrong, God is not opposed to order. After all, He is responsible for an ordered universe full of constants like Avogadro’s number, gravity, photosynthesis, not to mention the  highways of unseen metabolic pathways that run our bodies daily. God as brilliant and ordered engineer and scientist.

At the same time, God loves process and seasons and change. He is the God who dreamed up the incredible complexities of life cycles in the butterfly, the fern, the jellyfish, and most notably the human. He is the God of literally infinite designs of fingerprints and zebra stripes and giraffe spots. He paints parots with a full pallete of colors; He delights in nuiances and variations.  God as quirky artist, always pushing the boundaries of the known and measurable.

He is always and completely both in a way our primarily right or left-brained selves cannot comprehend or imagine. Dynamic and static are two of his tools, both powerful and beautiful.

Today, I went running and praying, praying and running, attempting to get the root of the galvanized grumpiness I’ve sensed in my heart lately.  Two blocks into the mental and phyusical exercise, the Lord helped me realize that, once again,  I have been working hard to create a stability and permanence that will constantly evade me. A God-given deep desire for constancy has led me to silly attempts to glue down the pieces of the mobile that is my life.  “These are my friends, these are my children, this is our home, this is my role, this is our church from here to kingdom come. Someone, give me a hot glue gun, I am setting things in semi-permanence over here.”

I have been fighting against the magicical and maddening truth of life as mobile, and in the process, my joy and awe and wonder have been taking a hit.

Constancy is necessary to a mobile. The components of a mobile must be anchoroed at the base somehow, and God, the only unchanging and utterly faithful One, is the anchor that secures and holds each kinetic work of art that is a life. He will not budge or break or rust. It is the anchor that allows for the beautiful, unpredictable movement of the mobile.

Movement and change are equally necessary for mobiles, otherwise they would not be mobiles. Sometimes the movements are slow and nearly impercetible, othertimes they are drastic and daring, but movement is a must for a mobile.

Anchored constancy and magical, maddening movement: yet another both/and (rather than either/or) that must be embraced in our stories within God’s greater story.

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