Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How I See God's Character Revealed Through Math

For those who haven't had the pleasure of hearing me gripe first-hand, let me tell you about Dynamic Fields:

I hate not knowing what's going on. It's the worst feeling.

I need to know what's going on, what I'm supposed to be learning, and what I can expect in the future. One way for me to know what's going on  is to be in charge and in control of it. Many Mines students probably hold this sentiment as well: they've worked hard to get where they are now, and that is now leading them to getting a degree that will make money. We think we can control most of that.

So when we don't know what's going on, we lose control over the future of our academic careers, in a way.

But what's even worse is when that feeling spills over into real life.

Last post I talked about how I actually love turbulence, but I like order. The definiteness and clarity of processes that I desire in real life are probably reasons I went into studying something like engineering and science, fields dominated by process, order, data, analysis, results, and the flowcharts that describe the whole thing.

That's the way I am. And it's a reason I sort of dislike geology, with its subjectiveness and ambiguity and such. Interpreting blurred lines, such as seismic, is sometimes difficult because of some of the same reasons. Now you see how not knowing what's going on is so difficult for me. It's like scrolling through lines upon lines of computer code looking for the syntax error and running it not knowing why your code isn't quite what you want it to be. And you thought your code was so orderly and logical.

I walk down the hall from Dynamic Fields feeling worried, frustrated, lost, even angry, and tired. I feel like I don't belong here, like I want to give up. The area in front of the room for Advanced Engineering Math (AEM) fills up with chatter and complaints about the proceeding Dynamic Fields lecture or nightmare of an exam. I sit down in my usual chair in AEM and after being walked through a few equations on the board, understand that somehow, everything is okay or at least will be eventually. 

Math is constant. It has always been there as a subject, and it is usually a confidence booster. Usually.
But it's structured well. You know what you're supposed to be learning, or know what formulas or methods to use, and know the extent of work you'll have to put in to do well. There's usually a point in Math. And it's the basis of everything we do in engineering and science.

I feel like life sometimes feels a little like Dynamic Fields: messy, complex, incomprehensible, and I have no idea what's going on. I see God's character revealed through math: constant, purposeful, and knowing.

 Realization: life is not a script, function, or lines of code. Of course it'd be simpler if it was. Of course it'd be a great deal more boring.

Sometimes looking ahead in Math, I get a glimpse of a crazy complicated equation with symbols I don't yet understand. Yet I know we'll learn about it and get there...eventually. It's like God when I'm frustrated that I don't know what's going on is saying, "Don't worry, we'll get there....eventually."