Before church this morning, I participate in a daily morning ritual with my daughters: I detangle their hair.
This is not fun ever. We employ various products, special brushes, and gentle mother-strokes to get their hair orderly and smooth. They used to cry and shout about this. Now, they resign themselves to it, clenching their jaws, staring stoic into the mirror to endure the process.
As I’m brushing and comforting, I wonder about this process. Tangle, as a verb, means to mix together in a confused mass. The verb actually approximates “confuse” more than any other verb. Confusion refers to “the state of being mixed or blended so as to produce indistinctness or error; indistinct combination; disorder; tumult.”
As I think more about tangles and confusion, I think about my own mind. If confusion results from blending what shouldn’t be blended–of mixing up what doesn’t go together–then something about peace, order, and enlightenment involves separating out parts.
In the past, confusion always resulted when my emotions disagreed with the truth of what should be or should happen. My feelings clouded a topic, tangled up the truth of a situation, and made a mess in my head. I had to part my feelings from what was actually true.
Working to separate tangles reminds me to do the work of parting my emotions from the truth regarding a situation. Just because it’s appealing to my emotions doesn’t mean this or that action is right. And just because I don’t want to do something or it’s painful doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
As we leave for church, I’m thankful for a truth outside of my own perceptions and my own feelings. I read the Bible and learn the commands of God because they tell me what is true and right about my life and my interactions with others. I can make decisions, plan a course, leave a situation, or enter a new one based on ancient (but so current) wisdom.
It’s the ultimate detangler.