Today Is Chaos Never Dies Day
November 9 has been a quite stressful and often chaotic date since the late Middle Ages. In 1456, Ulrich II of Celje, the last prince of Celje principality, was assassinated in Belgrade. In 1494, the Medici Family was expelled from Florence. In 1520, more than 50 people were sentenced and executed in the Stockholm Bloodbath. In 1720, the synagogue of Yehudah he-Hasid in Jerusalem was burned down by Arabs, leading to the expulsion of the Ashkenazim from the city. Fifty years later, during the Battle of Fishdam Ford in the American Revolutionary War, a force of British and Loyalist troops failed in a surprise attack against the South Carolina Patriot militia. In 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte led the coup d’état of 18 Brumaire ending the Directory government.
November 9 during the 19th century was relatively calm, but then in 1872, the Great Boston Fire engulfed the city in one of the costliest fire-related property losses in American history. Eight years later, a large earthquake hit Zagreb, killing many and destroying the Zagreb Cathedral. Today in 1888 in London, the city residents were gripped with fear as Mary Jane Kelly became the fifth (and possibly final) victim of the notorious unidentified serial killer Jack the Ripper.
During the 20th century, November 9 was a fairly chaotic date, seeing the Great Lakes Storm of 1913, the most destructive natural disaster ever to hit the lakes (destroying 19 ships and killing more than 250 people) and the sinking of the SMS Emden by the HMAS Sydney in the Battle of Cocos the following year. In 1923, in Munich, police and government troops crushed the chaotic Nazi-led Beer Hall Putsch in Bavaria.
Forty years later, in 1963, an explosion at a coal mine in Miike, Japan, killed 458 people, and put 839 more in the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning. Two years after that, several American states and parts of Canada were hit by a series of blackouts lasting up to 13 hours. Chaos loomed in the United States in 1979, when a nuclear alarm was sounded as NORAD computers and the Alternate National Military Command Center in Fort Ritchie, Maryland, detected a massive Soviet nuclear strike. Thankfully, after reviewing the raw data from satellites and checking the early warning radars, the alert was cancelled and chaos was averted. In 1993, Stari most, the “old bridge” in Bosnian Mostar built in 1566, collapsed after several days of bombing during the Bosnian War. In 2005, suicide bombers caused chaos across Amman, Jordan, when they attacked several hotels, killing at least 60 people.
These are just a few of the many chaotic events that have marked November 9 throughout history. So perhaps it’s no surprise that today is also recognized as “Chaos Never Dies Day.”
According to HolidayInsights.com:
“Chaos Never Dies Day recognizes the turmoil in modern, everyday life. Are things a little crazy at home? Is school a little on the wild side? Is your work place hectic and disorderly? We thought so. Just when things seem to calm down at work and home, along comes something to disrupt your life. Yes, disorder is everywhere. Hectic schedules, changes to plans, unexpected tasks and chores, the list goes on and on and on. Today is designed for you. It’s a day to recognize the chaos in your life. You can best celebrate this day, by recognizing that chaos never dies. Rather, its a way of life. You can partake in this special day, by putting just a little order back into your life. You can start, by picking one thing that is really disrupting your life, and change it…for the good.”
Perhaps instead of picking one “disruptor” in your life, you could do something that may tamp down on all disruptors: meditation.
And while November 9 may be the one day a year to recognize the inherent chaos of life, it’s also notable to know that the date is also the birth, in 1522, of German theologian Martin Chemnitz. Considered by many to be the greatest theologian on the 16th century, Chemnitz is second only to Martin Luther in the historical ranks of the Lutheran church, which was undergoing an extremely chaotic period in the late 1500s.
“It was the latter part of the sixteenth century that proved to be one of the greatest battlegrounds for orthodox Lutheranism, which found itself facing many opponents and varied controversies,” writes Lutheran minister Joshua Zarling. “The Catholic Church, newly revitalized from the council of Trent (1545-1563), was now ready to take a decisive stand against the Protestants. John Calvin had come onto the scene…It was in the doctrines of the Lord’s Supper and the Person of Christ that Calvinism posed its greatest threat to Lutheranism…Under the unsteady hand of Melancthon, Wittenberg itself became a hotbed for Crypto-Calvinists…[a]dd to this the Osiandrian controversy, the Synergists and the Anabaptists…it was…turbulent times.”
Chemnitz, who was one of the most important formulators of the Formula of Concord, the authoritative Lutheran statement of faith, knew very well the value of meditation. He said that “tremendously important matters…can be understood better by pious meditation than explained by human language.”
Will a little meditation help one to accept, process and/or co-exist with the chaos of life? Most signs point to a resounding yes. As the Mayo Clinic notes, “Spending even a few minutes in meditation can restore your calm and inner peace.”
But meditation does require a good amount of concentration, persistence and—at least where chaos is concerned—a certain level of acceptance. As the Buddha once said, “Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence.”
Happy Chaos Never Dies Day…and happy meditating.
image: Martin Chemnitz