Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Well Coiled Life

Back in my community college days I attended a rather large college church group. I’m sure there were good lessons taught there on community, and morality, and Christian living, and connecting with God. I know the worship music was well done as far as late 1990s church music goes.
But the lesson that has stuck with me from those days was a time that I helped a friend put away the sound equipment.

My friend ran the sound for the evening meeting. This included guitars and other instruments, and vocal microphones for worship music and the speaker. One night I offered to help put away cables, speakers, monitors, and other equipment. I probably started wrapping up a cable lengthwise around my forearm.

Wound Up Right

My friend stopped me and she patiently taught me the correct way to wind up a cable.
Essentially, every cable is designed to wind up in a particular orderly manner. If you hold one end in your hand and then lightly twist a short section of the cable between your fingers you will feel the cable line up as it’s supposed to. Turning or twisting the cable between your fingers will not merely twist it; it will begin to wind into a coil. It will “give way” to an order as though it desired to be orderly. Continuing this, in an over/under pattern, will result in a cable, neatly wound up right.

Here’s a video.

There are several other such videos to be found on YouTube.
This may not seem super exciting, but believe me, it is.

I’ve thought of this several times over the years. I learned this as it pertains to sound cables, and I’ve discovered that it applies to similar cords and cables as well. Extension cords, garden hoses, some ropes, all wind this way.
It’s one thing to see a hose tangled up in a pile next to the side of the house; it’s truly satisfying to see a garden hose wound up right.

For me, the idea that the design of something, the purpose, the order, of something can be discovered and discerned is a beautiful idea.
In those moments when I feel the nature or design of a cable or cord, as I hold it in my hands, I feel like an engineer... or a wizard.

I know I sound silly, but there is something magical about having insight into the nature of a thing.

Like a farmer knowing the soil.
Like a potter knowing the clay.
Like a trainer knowing an animal.
Like a musician masterfully playing an instrument.
Like a wizard knowing the earth and the plants and the skies.
Like a girl running the sound at church and winding up a cable right.


I love the idea of design, of purpose, of order; I love the idea that there is a proper way for something to be done. And I love the insight and understanding in finding that right way and accomplishing the right task in the right way.  Every time I wind up a cord right I have that special satisfaction that I’ve brought proper order to something.

See what I mean? ...beautiful.

My affinity for these ideas is probably related to my belief that there is an ultimate designer. The cable can be coiled any sloppy way you want, but it ought to be wound up a certain way because the people who made it configured the metals and plastic such that it is best for it to be stored in a particular manner.  

The farmer and the trainer are both connecting to something deep and beautiful when they do their work; they are bringing things in line with the order that the designer worked into the thing. They are doing what is best for the things in their care. 

Obviously, the purpose or design of humanity is somewhat more complicated than tending a garden, training an animal, or rolling up a cable, but the same principle applies as I consider my life as a whole.

Winding a cord or cable is my own personal reminder that I want to order my life right. I want to step back from my day-to-day and be satisfied that I’ve done things properly, as they were designed to be done.  I want to have a deep, magical connection with the creator. I was configured in such a way that there is a best way for my soul to be ordered. I want to tune in to, to understand, the intent and the purpose behind my creation. 

I want my life to be wound up right.

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