This I Believe
I believe in balance.
Maybe it’s because I’m a middle child. Maybe it’s because I see shades of grey rather than black and white. Maybe it’s because I’m known for saying, “There’s ‘this’, but then there’s ‘that.’” But I believe in balance.
We are at our best when our days are shaped by a balance of work and play. Our bodies function best on a well-balanced diet. We need a balance between solitude and community time. Between speaking and silence; activity and rest. We need to take risks and also take on things within our comfort zone. We need to live out of our strengths as well as our weaknesses. We need balance.
Rarely do we obtain balance without, at first, a struggle. As a professional, I often allow my career to swallow up all of my identity. As a daughter and sister, I strive to know when to commit to familial obligations and when to practice healthy detachment. As a lover, I want to make choices that fall somewhere between getting everything I want and getting nothing I want. As a believer, I am convinced faith runs deeper when space is made for doubt.
Balance is built into the rhythm of life. There is birthing and dying. Joy and sorrow. Pleasure and pain. Failure and success. Loss and gain.
Our communities need to be balanced. Hearing from voices that vary in age, gender, sexual identity, race, nationality, socio-economic background, and faith perspective, no voice dominates and no voice is silenced. There is always another voice to offset the one who wants too much power. When we learn to value all voices, we will be able to disagree while remaining a harmonious unit.
As I practice yoga, I know that any balancing pose will keep me centered. In Tree Pose, my mind is kept from wandering because I must be attentive to both the physical aspects and inner calm the asana necessitates. Balance encourages us to be present and awake. Balance keeps us from being driven by our worries and fears.
Even the divine energy of the universe embodies balance. A seminary professor, Dr. Don Saliers, gave me my favorite definition of theology: “the fine art of balancing metaphors so as to preserve the mystery of God.” God is Parent and Brother Jesus. God is King of Heaven and Babe of Bethlehem. God speaks the harsh, convicting words of a Judge while also whispering the gentle, tender words of a Friend. God is intimate Lover, and yet the radical Other. God is the known Light and the darkness of Holy Mystery.
Because as a Christian I believe that we are made in the image of God, we are created to live out of our need for balance. Divine energy and our very own souls dance between ‘ups and downs’, ‘this and that’, ‘yes and no’ all the while seeking the balance the centers us and makes us whole.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.