I have a particular character trait that I am learning to appreciate. I'm not entirely sure what to call it - the best word I can think of is "orderliness" (dictionary definition: observant of or governed by system or method). On the surface, it doesn't seem to be an exciting trait. Much more rigid-sounding than "free-spirited" or "creative." So in my twenties, I resigned myself to my personality fate. I couldn't doubt my penchant for order. And I couldn't, I reasoned, have the more exciting traits if I happened to be an orderly and organized person.
Or could I?
I am beginning to uncover a gratifying connection between orderliness and freedom: order provides a framework where freedom can flourish.
Freedom, in my thinking, is the ability to dwell fully in the present without regret for the past or impatience for the future. It is understanding that there is, as the writer of Ecclesiastes so beautifully put it, a "time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." And orderliness is the vessel that arranges a time and a place for the people and stuff and events that make up my little world. When I bring order to my day, I provide a place for my priorities to dwell, which in turn leaves room for the unplanned events and spontaneous whims of the day.
Order for the sake of order is stifling (otherwise known as control).
But order for the sake of freedom...well, THAT'S something I can get
NOTE TO THE READER: Take heart if you don't count orderliness among your personality traits. Perhaps I am doing you a disservice by attaching it to personality because, frankly, I think orderliness is learned more than felt. Take heart, too, if you are in crisis or survival mode. There is a time for everything, and sometimes just getting by is enough.