Life is complex. But complexity always starts from something simple.
Recently, my life has been complicated by moving to a new state. Anyone who has relocated knows how tough it can be. After a month of procrastinating, I finally went to the department of transport and got my car registered. Yay! I was given two license plates for my vehicle, and, with a sense of accomplishment, I drove home.
That afternoon, I pulled out a wrench from the back of the car and managed to remove and replace my back license plate. I’m not particularly handy, so this was an achievement. Since the vehicle was from PA, it did not have a front license plate, which means less work for me…or so I thought.
There were no bolts on the front plate.
I began with searching the vehicle for bolts in case there were spares, but I had no luck. I found a box of nuts and bolts at the church, but I could not find any that fit. After wrestling with the unsuitable bolts, I went to Home Depot and bought a packet of “license plate bolts”. But alas, they didn’t fit either.
I felt defeated.
A few days later, I lamented to another teacher about my situation.
“Why don’t you just ask to have it done when it gets inspected?”
That possibility hadn’t crossed my mind. It seemed so obvious. So simple.
Simple things that we learn in childhood become more complex as we grow. For example, when we first encounter genetics, it is simple. You have brown hair because your dad has brown hair. As we grow, we are introduced to gene theory and how DNA from our parents controls our appearance. Finally, we are taught why specific genes are expressed and how dominant and recessive genes influence our appearance. And now, something simple just got complicated.
Something similar occurs when we read the Word and the Writings. We begin with simple stories from the Word. Then we are introduced to correspondences and appearances. When we look beyond the mere surface of these, we find complex principles that define our world of ultimates and appearances. Thus, the more we read the Word, the more complex life appears.
Yet, despite all the complexity, life is actually very simple. We are what we love.
Now don’t get me wrong, life will always have complexity. But complex things start from simple things, like love.
I was lucky enough to attend Jacob’s creek camp this year. The theme focused on the ten commandments. During one of the sessions, a minister explained that every teaching from the Word is contained within the ten commandments.
That’s a lot of meaning packed into ten short statements. But it can be condensed even more.
These ten commandments can be reflected within the two great commandments: to love the Lord your God and to love the neighbour.
Back to my DNA analogy. DNA is complicated, no doubt about that. But it is only made up of four ingredients…efficiently dubbed A, T, C, and G for short. That’s it. Oh, and here’s another simple rule. The A and the T will always be together, and the C and G will always be together. This can be narrowed down to two base pairs. And thus, a simple pattern can create a beautiful, complex design, such as you or me!
When I feel overwhelmed by the complexity of the world, I try to remind myself to focus on the little things—making a meal, making my bed, getting someone else to fix my car—whatever gets me though the day. As my life becomes more complicated and overwhelming, I’m going to keep a lookout for life’s simplicities, such as loving the Lord and the neighbour. And I encourage you to do the same.