Striving to make our lives orderly is always difficult. Whether we are organizing our homes, working toward self-improvement, or re-aligning our priorities, it can be challenging to make a change and sometimes it even feels like a chore. With this process of improvement already being so difficult, trying to teach the importance of orderliness to our children is a whole other challenge! Fortunately, St. Gregory of Nyssa has some eloquent insight to help us remember the big picture and why finding order in our daily lives is so important.
St. Gregory of Nyssa saw all of nature as a kind of song. When everything works together the way it is supposed to, it has a rhythm that St. Gregory viewed as music. He says,
"The accord and affinity of all things with one another which is controlled in an orderly and sequential manner is the primal, archetypal, true music. It is this music which the conductor of the universe skillfully strikes up in the unspoken speech of wisdom through these ever occurring movements."
He believed the same is true of our lives. When we live an ordered life and strive for what is good for us, then each of our actions become like notes in a song. None of our actions are independent from each other, but they work together to contribute to the grand melody of our lives.
Here is what St. Gregory of Nyssa says:
"In this singing nature reflects on itself in a certain manner, and heals itself. For the proper rhythm of life, which singing seems to me to recommend symbolically, is a cure of nature. For perhaps the very fact that the character of those who live virtuously need not be devoid of the Muses, unharmonious and out of tune, is an encouragement to the more sublime state of life. Neither must the string be drawn taut beyond measure, for that which is well-tuned certainly breaks when it is strained beyond what the string can bear, nor on the contrary must one slacken the tension immoderately through pleasure, for the soul which becomes relaxed in such passions becomes deaf and dumb. In all other matters we must tighten and relax the tension at the right time, looking at this, that our way of life in the customs may continue always melodious and rhythmical, being neither immoderately slack nor strained beyond measure."
As we continue to strive for orderliness in our daily lives, let us look at the bigger picture and consider the song that we are creating. Like St. Gregory indicates, we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves but find the right balance for what we are capable of in each moment.