"When God began to create heaven and earth, and the earth then was welter and waste and darkness over the deep and God's breath hovering over the waters, God said, 'Let there be light.'" ~ Genesis 1:1-2 from the Robert Alter translation, Genesis
I don't read Hebrew, although I wish I could. Maybe someday. In the meantime, I pretend by reading Robert Alter's biblical translations. He endeavors to retain the poetic feel of the original.
Here's his note on "welter and waste": "The Hebrew tohu wabohu occurs only here and in two later biblical texts that are clearly alluding to this one.... Tohu by itself means emptiness or futility..."
Housework sometimes feels like that -- welter and waste, emptiness and futility. Then one day, I was folding the clothes. How many loads of laundry have I folded? Hundreds, certainly. But on this day, something new occurred to me. I looked at the pile of rumpled shirts and socks and sheets and underwear, and I thought of chaos.
Then I thought about other household tasks waiting to be completed. I thought about dirty bathrooms. Uncooked food. Littered floors. Full trashcans. Unmade beds. Chaos.
And then I thought about God. The whole cosmos was once nothing but chaos, welter and waste. The fundamental task of creation was bringing order out of chaos. The Word was spoken and there was light. The waters were divided by a vault and gathered together. There was dry land and grass and trees and fruit and evening and morning. Fish and birds and beasts and cattle and creeping crawling things. There were man and woman, you and me. There were -- and are -- variety and multitudes, but within and among and all through there is a strange and mysterious and indubitable order.
When I sweep and scrub and especially when I fold, I bring order out of chaos. It is hallowed work, God's work.