Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Entropy, as a recent article about the demise of dinosaurs defines it, is the tendency of things to run down or break down over time. In other words, natural systems like composites and organisms have a tendency, over time, to stop functioning together and return to their component parts. Other words approximating this idea are "decay" and "corruption." Stars experience entropy. Human bodies experience entropy. Cars experience entropy. The whole of creation, it would seem, experiences entropy.
Human aspiration also undergoes a sort of entropy. There are certain things I shall never accomplish, particular promises of youth that shall remain unfulfilled, and always days when I will sigh and think, 'Would that I . . ." or, "If only . . ."
I have been reflecting on this phenomenon in the last few days as graduation announcements flood my mail box, various mothers sniffle around the church preparing for their graduates' "lasts," and as young people brace themselves for impending goodbyes. In the swirling and turbulent self-absorption that marks most periods of transition, it can appear that entropy is not a law of the material world alone.
To summarize, change is inevitable and so common as to be unremarkable, except for the fact that it is experienced by individual people. As an individual, each experience of change is something new and personal, carrying with it both the pain inherent to the old decaying as well as the potential for something new and better to replace it. Entropy is not bad. Rather, it is a necessary byproduct of existence in a world bound by time. Its sting is moderated by the knowledge that though in time, man is destined for eternity.
In eternity, there is no past and there is no future. There is only now. Thus, while bound in time, what I loved in the past, in eternity I still love now. Because of eternity, love is never wasted, nor is it ever lost. Likewise, all loving is a participation in the love of the Holy Trinity. To be bound up in God's love in eternity is to find the fulfillment of all love that was "lost" in time.
When considered this way, goodbye is not goodbye. Change is simply a step forward as creation proceeds in its orbit back toward its Creator. Things fall apart. Except that they don't.