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The Chaos Monster

I started to write this post two weeks ago. I find that interesting, because as I was contemplating what else to add to it, all hell broke loose in our family. The chaos monster literally made a visit to our home. My husband’s grandmother died the same day mine went into the hospital. (Mine is in hospice/palliative care now.) My husband’s car broke, my daughter came down with a stomach virus five hours before we were to leave to drive to West Virginia for the funeral, and last but not least, this site was hacked. While I sat at the funeral home in West Virginia, hackers did quite a number on this site. For several days I wasn’t sure I would ever recover the site. I was beginning to resign myself to the fact that it was all gone. Then suddenly, after one last try, it came back. Whew. Today, as I was praying at church, I heard God’s voice loud and clear: don’t be intimidated. Don’t let the chaos monster win. Keep going. Keep fighting. So here I am, standing up and saying to the chaos monster: you won’t win. I WILL have simplicity. One day at a time.

What is the chaos monster, you ask?

The chaos monster is when you have plans to get up and exercise, only to find your back spasms, throwing you into unspeakable agony the second you get out of bed.

The chaos monster is finally getting some time to work on a computer-based project and having the computer suddenly shut down and run an hour long windows update program.

The chaos monster is planning for a meeting for weeks, preparing yourself and finally feeling calm and ready–only to have your daughter throw up five minutes before you’re to walk out the door to work. And you have to stay home to take care of her.

The chaos monster is waking up to a week where everyone in your family are finally healthy all at the same time, only to get a call that your grandmother has passed away.

The chaos monster is setting up a lovely detailed sleep schedule and sticking to it after months of insomnia issues, but your normally über-organized husband loses his keys the first morning–meaning he has to wake you thirty minutes early, throwing your whole schedule off.

The chaos monster is having an important work day planned out to the last moment, only to have your spouse’s car break down on the side of the interstate.

The chaos monster comes in all shapes and forms, but we all know him. He comes in the most unexpected moments. He seeks to upset and destroy any plans you might have had. Just about the moment that you think you might have some control in your life, the chaos monster arrives to remind you that in reality, we have very little control over our day to day lives.

I have four people in my home: three have ADHD. Two have OCD. (that’s some very interesting math, isn’t it?) My oldest has Aspergers Syndrome and sensory issues. My daughter has dyslexia. There’s a whole lotta chaos in my home. Every. Single. Day.

Yet while we can’t predict when and where the chaos monster will strike, we do have control over our reaction to him. We can choose to not be simply reactionary–running from crisis to crisis. We can choose to be somewhat prepared. We can choose not to let chaos run us off our course or distract us from our goal. For that is the chaos monster’s purpose: to keep us always reacting, never enacting.

We can choose to handle the crisis but keep moving forward. We can choose to simplify our lives so that when the chaos monster strikes, we have less to stress us out. Funny thing about the stuff we accumulate–stuff takes caring for. It needs our attention. It adds to our stress. So let’s simplify. Let’s train and get into a place where we are ready when the chaos monster strikes.

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