Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Maintaining balance

Conversations with my granddaughter: Maintaining balance



Hello little one,

It is wonderful you are starting to walk on your own. As you pick yourself up and move forward by placing one foot before the other, I can see that you are learning to maintain balance by adjusting your arms and your body. It is obvious that you are not doing it consciously because you are more focused on getting to where you want to be. Day by day, I can see that you are improving your balance. Soon, little one, you will walk as well as all the other big people. I will not be surprised you will soon be running.  

Maintaining balance is something we all learn to do. Big people have to learn to maintain balance too. Not in walking as you do but in balancing the priorities in their busy lives. Life, you will soon learn, is a balancing act. Some big people have more things to balance. Others have less. Yet, all have to learn to balance if they are to achieve the target they set themselves so as to get to where they want to go. In my work, Grampa has to balance the roles of being a clinician-university professor and pastor-theologian. (Well, Grampa is not actually a pastor but we are talking about the role here rather than the title. Little one, we will talk about big people and their fixation with titles another time).  Grampa also has to balance my time taking care of family (which includes you, little one), household, health and time with God, the Father of all big and little people. That is a lot of things to keep track of and to balance.

Grampa keeps balance by continually adjusting the different roles so that equilibrium is achieved. Like when you walk, your body gets feedback and makes the necessary adjustments. Grampa keeps his balance by being sensitive to feedback and making adjustments. This is only possible because Grampa has a lot of help from other big people. Some help him in his roles and support him in many ways. Others pray for strength and stamina for him to keep balance.  Aside from physical support, Grampa is sustained by the love of people around him.  Love is a powerful force to energize especially when Grampa is tired, discouraged or depressed. You know what that feels like, little one? Remember the times when you fall down and cries? Then Mummy picks you up and suddenly everything is alright.

Like you, Grampa keeps balance by focusing on where is he is going. The big people have a big word for this. They call it ‘vocation’. Grampa understands it as living a life that is glorifying to God. Grampa may not be successful all the time. He has fallen down many times. Like you, Grampa gets up and tries again.  Grampa has learned that it is not the number of times that he falls but that he tries. Little one, God has created the necessary nerves, muscles, bone and sensory feedback mechanisms in your body for you to walk on your own.  Grampa also believes that God has given him the necessary gifts and talents to maintain his balance. Like you, he often falls especially when he gets distracted or when the floor is uneven. Keeping focus is important to maintaining equilibrium. Sometimes life may throw a curve ball and knock us down. We just need get up and try again. 

Grampa and grandma learned something about the Olympics games in Greece. In ancient Greece, the running tracks were sandy and uneven. When the runners start from one end of the track, they stirred up a lot of dust so often they cannot see the finishing line. These athletes have someone holding and waving colored cloths. The runners focus on running towards their colored cloths in spite of not being able to see where they are going. This gives context to what the apostle Paul wrote, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize [towards the colored cloth!]. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.…do it all for the glory of God“ (1 Cor. 9:24-25; 10:31b). 

Living life is keeping our balance with our priorities in equilibrium in the context of all who love us so that we may live our lives to the glory of God. This is my prayer for you, little one, that as you learn balance in walking, you will also learn to balance your priorities when you grow up in the company of those who love and support you.

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