When I was a little girl, my family went out to the league baseball games whenever our church team played. The ball game was not really the draw for me; I simply loved the energy of a rural community gathered on a summer night under the lights. I loved the dusty air and the smells. I loved the concession stand…and I loved the teeter-totters.
I remember the physical exhilaration of pushing off the sandy ground…traveling skyward while sending my partner toward earth. If we were differently-sized, the game became more challenging. There was the anticipation of hitting the ground hard if I was the heavier of the two…or, if the lighter, the thrill of being flung into the air and hitting the ‘ceiling’ with the same kind of force. Finding the perfect balance meant that the game was carefree and easy, but it was certainly not as exciting!
And so it is with life. When things are chaotic or akimbo, we look for more balance in our routines and activities. But when there is too much calm, we might long for something a bit more exciting. It’s always a balancing game.
The ‘wonderings’ in this month’s theme packet suggest that balance might be thought of something more than a destination. The invitation is to think of balance as a stillpoint on which we pivot…that moment when the teeter totter might go in either direction…the moment of pause before taking a leap. We balance for that split second before something turns…before shift happens or new life emerges.
In this view, balance is not a permanent condition, but is more of a rest stop. A place to catch our breath, re-gain our composure and gather our courage. When we are balanced…perhaps on the brink…we can prepare ourselves for what comes next.
T.S. Eliot wrote in Burnt Norton, the first of his Four Quartets:
At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
Stand in the balance when you need tom but do not call it fixity. Stand at the stillpoint and catch your breath, my friends. But then, dance!
With you through ups and downs,