Balance

I have come to the conclusion that some people were designed with more of a need for balance and order in their lives, and others can function smoothly in chaos and unpredictability.  Some people are more “off the cuff” or “go with the flow” while others need plans and schedules.  For those who know me, it is obvious that I lean more towards the need for planning and organization.  However, since I am married to someone completely opposite of me, I often find myself caught between two strong pulls.

I’m grateful for it.  Because the longer I live, the more I come to realize that life does not fit into nice schedules.  I didn’t plan for my neighbor to need us one night close to midnight so she could check on her son in the hospital.  I don’t plan for hormones and emotional swings, but the reality is that they affect my days and productivity.  I can never foresee which child or friend might be in need of something – minor or major.  And it’s really hard to “plan” fun.   Those wonderful experiences and memories often happen in the middle of the mundane events, if I just take the opportunity to seize them instead of pushing forward to the next task.

But sometimes, life feels like it’s just dragging me along with a trail of disarray behind me.  Project lists, laundry piles, messy floors, unchecked lesson plans, sleepy kids, and cluttered inbox.  Instead of focusing on all the wonderful things that came out of the “dragging along,” I focus on what was left undone.  And it bums me out for a day or so. This is a recurring cycle.  Usually, I end up feeling overwhelmed.

However, over time, I have begun – with baby steps – to understand that life is more like nature with its seasons and tides than like man-made scales. I always get a picture of waves – my need to rise and “fall” with the tides – instead of trying to create my own man-made lake. Inevitably, windows of time open up to tackle all of the little things that give me that sense of order or “security.” Instead of trying to “balance” it all, I am most at peace and find most joy and fulfillment when I have let go and instead appreciate the here and now.

Check out this cartoon and post from Hugh McLeod at Gaping Void: