Monday, August 21, 2006


Balance is an elusive thing. The thing about balance is that you’re never really “there”. It’s never really final. Maybe in a perfect world or in a vacuum existence you could achieve balance, but not in the life that you and I live in. Balance is never final because it depends on outside influences that are constantly at work. Balance comes in all forms in every part of life. You have physical balance. It’s the kind that keeps you walking on the straight and narrow. It’s the type that you hope you can maintain when a uniformed individual asks you to walk the yellow line alongside a local highway. It can be affected by what has been introduced to your body, like alcohol. It can also be affected by what ought to be introduced into your body. A few weeks ago I had issues with heat exhaustion and dehydration. The most pronounced symptom for me was that I lost my balance. I had a sense that any quick movement would result in my swirling rather gracefully to the ground in a black haze. It was solved for the most part by consuming mass quantities of water and Gatorade. When I was young, growing up a few hours from Niagara Falls, I remember images of a great high wire artist named Blondin perched on a tightrope high above the water. In each image he had this long pole that he used to counter the physics that were trying to cause him to give in to gravity and plummet to the earth. I remember scenes of the late Karl Wallenda plunging to his death when a gust of wind overcame his determination to maintain balance.
There are other types of balance that I deal with on a regular basis. There is the emotional balance that sometimes comes with the job I have. There is a balance that is always being worked on in my family, in my spiritual life, in my mental health. You name it, I’m trying to balance it. So is everyone I encounter. And like Blondin, everyone needs a pole of some type to counter the affects of whatever it is in life that is threatening your ability to walk the yellow line in a competent manner. For some people, the pole is artificial. There are those who are medicated into balance, legal or otherwise. Not meaning to offend, what I mean is there are some who are rightfully and competently medicated to offset something that is physically lacking otherwise. There are others, however, who choose their own medication without professional help. Not only is the method artificial, but so is the balance, and eventually the natural forces of gravity will plummet them from their high wire existence.
My emotional state at times can waver precariously and I need a pole to pull it all together. I’m scheduled, I’ve confessed before. If my schedule is set and my planets are aligned then I stand a decent enough chance of surviving the week. However, like Ebeneezer Scrooge, the slightest thing can affect my senses. A blot of mustard or an underdone piece of potato…. you know the rest. Anyway, I try to have built in to my life some poles that help me through. The first is some time spent with the one who created balance in the first place. I guess if He created the concept, then He can get me back to it. Some time alone with God, walking in the garden, which sometimes looks alarmingly like a coffee shop, can tip me back to where I need to be. Writing does this for me as well. I sit down once a week, at the beginning of the week, to just blurt out stuff that has been confined in my brain. My time this week was in jeopardy for a few brief moments and it caused me great stress. My pole was nowhere to be found. I was going to need a lot longer walk in the garden to get through this one. But at the last moment, the planets aligned and here I am. And I can virtually feel myself come back into line in much the same way as the gallons of water and Gatorade brought me back to steady feet a few weeks ago. Gravity still calls and pulls and I know that its only a matter of time before I’ll need to wave this way or that for balance to be maintained. I’m just grateful for the pole.

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