Saturday, June 16, 2007

Embracing Chaos (Susan Howatch)

I enjoy Susan Howatch's novels about the Church of England. Her characters are terribly flawed, easily recognizable. Here's a quote from The High Flyer:

(p 301)
A long while later I said to Lewis: "I can't stand there being no order. I'm so frightened of the chaos."

"It's like being thrown into the deep end of the pool, isn't it?" said Lewis casually. "The rules that apply to life on dry land no longer apply. You're immersed in water, a substance which as the potential to drown you. If you're not accustomed to swimming every instinct tells you to yell in terror and grab the rail at the side of the pool, but in fact this isn't the way to deal with the problem. You have to make the problem no longer a problem by embracing it -- you have to let go of the rail and launch yourself out on the water because once you're swimming, playing by the water-rules instead of the land rules, you find the water's stimulating, bracing, even welcoming. So by embracing the chaos instead of shunning it you've opened up a whole new dimension of reality."

Hmmm.....

11 comments:

Serena said...

OH Yeah! Great quote here! (love the tidbits one finds in good books!)

Jan said...

"So by embracing the chaos instead of shunning it you've opened up a whole new dimension of reality."

A friend of mine, who is a mystic, advises me and others to pray to be uncomfortable. That's pretty much "embracing the chaos."

Thank you, Katherine. I love quotes.

Gannet Girl said...

Ay-yup.

Diane said...

love this.. embracing the chaos... also love jan's comment "pray to be uncomfortable"... that's where I often find myself in church-based organizing...

Glad I found you!

Guy said...

Today you are learning to embrace the chaos, but in your previous post you talked about death on the streets in Iraq. How much chaos are you willing to embrace?

Diane said...

good question, guy. Oh, say you joined the revgals, Katherine! welcome!

RevDrKate said...

hmmm,...indeed. Great quote. And a wonderful blog!

Emily said...

Love this quote! Welcome to RGBP!

Ava Nell said...

Over the weekend I listened to a recording of a talk given by Richard Rohr. He say when we suffer (i.e. experience choas),we wrongly insist on understanding, want answers, ask why (i.e. land thinking). Instead we should hold the pain until we experience the mystery (i.e. swim)and are transformed.

Doesn't that speak to our baptismal experience--leaving land, diving into the water, learning a new way of existing and being transformed into a new reality.

Thanks so much for leading me into a new understanding. (Curses :) for introducing a new author I now have to find and read.)

Katherine E. said...

Thanks for commenting, everyone. And for welcoming me to revgals--appreciate that! Guy, thanks for the question. I tend to draw a distinction between physical and spiritual chaos. The spiritual part is more like Jan and Ava Nell have commented here. If there were a greater good at stake in Iraq, the chaos and deaths might be worth it (I'm thinking of WWII and stopping Hitler), but I NEVER bought the argument from this Administration that freedom or "our way of life" was at stake.

Mary Beth said...

I ADORE Susan Howatch...for just such gems as these.