I believe in balance.
Growing up I was always fascinated with the seasons – the way they melt into one another so seamlessly, flawlessly. I would think a lot about how perfectly all four of them fit together, creating an impenetrable, four-tiered star. Each season has it’s own specific and unique features, and each season has it’s complement season, featuring the exact opposite. Fall signifies the beginning of the loss of vitality in nature – the leaves fall from the tops of trees, red, orange, and brown – and the wind carries a signature chill. Spring is everything that Fall isn’t. It is full of life; the beginning of the next cycle; the clean slate. And Summer’s blazing heat and cloudless skies are balanced by Winter’s skinny trees, constant grey, and rainy nights when all I can hear falling asleep in my bedroom is the sound of raindrops smacking the air conditioner that sits half-way out my window.
I’ve tried many times to write about the fascination I feel in regards to night and day, but it’s difficult to find just the words I’m looking for. Together, night and day is the epitome of balance. The rising and setting of the sun produces a 24-hour period that is perfectly proportional and fair.
Balance is even found when a Great White heartlessly devours a playful seal, tinting the water a crimson so recognizable. The killing is not a murder – it is a hunt, and this time, the shark won. And it had to, in order to keep the balance. If sharks never hunted the seals, there would be no predators keeping the seals in check. They would begin to overpopulate, and the excessive number of seals inhabiting a particular location would begin to impinge on the population of fish that the they regularly feed on. Less fish means other animals can’t eat, and soon enough the entire food chain is in chaos.
I really don’t believe that one can be best friends, or even close friends, with another who has nearly the same personality, because there is no balance of traits or qualities. Friends are friends because they even each other out, keep one another centered.
Think about men and women. They share much common ground, but each is what the other is not. We are this way, I believe, because we are meant to go together, complete each other.
I see balance every time I look at my hands, five fingers on each side. I feel it when depression lifts and contentment smoothes over. I see it in every grain of sand, I hear it during thunderstorms and I breathe it every single day – oxygen in, carbon dioxide out. And I know that it is so much stronger than I can see or even feel. But I don’t trouble myself with such thoughts of inquiry. Instead I just breathe, and live, knowing that even I have a crucial role in it all, that without me, like the fish, the balance that is the universe would be thrown off. And since death is just as natural as birth, I try not to fear that great unknown. For if there was no death, there could not possibly be any life.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.