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Reflections from Rev. Emily Gage

What Does It Mean To Be a People of Balance?

Many years ago, when I was a little girl, I took gymnastics classes. It might be an exaggeration to say it was a disaster, but it was clear to all that this was not my skill set. I have yet to master the backward somersault or the cartwheel. But I did really love the balance beam. That is to say, I liked walking slowly across the balance beam. I could manage that. Perhaps this is why I am completely in awe of watching professional gymnasts do things that are  incomprehensible to me, especially on the balance beam.

    Let’s face it: sometimes from the outside, we find ourselves watching others and think--how on Earth do they do that? I say it about gymnasts (and many, many athletes), but also sometimes about people who seem to have it all together--they do many different things with grace. Their lives, in other words, appear in balance. And while some have natural abilities that might make it easier for them than for others, balance often takes hard work. There are times when the beam seems wide and accommodating, and there are times when that balance beam will not let you steadily carry on. And that’s usually less about the beam and more about your internal state.

     So--the question then becomes--how does one achieve balance? How do you even assess the level of balance in your life? One way might be to make a pie chart of how you spend your time--how much on work, how much on family, how much on play, how much on justice. Or whatever categories make sense to you. And then you might say to yourself--does this reflect what I value most in this life? If it doesn’t, think about how you might shift your time (and therefore priorities) so you are more in balance with your internal state. It may be that you need to hold on more tightly to something, or that you need to let go of something. You might need to speed up to keep your balance, or you might need to slow down. Only you are going to know for sure, as you keep tabs on your internal calibration.

    It may even be that you need to step off that balance beam and take a break; to regain strength and perspective and some inner peace before you start up again. Sometimes we get so focused on doing that we forget the importance of simply being.

    If we can do all that work on balance for ourselves, then it will certainly help us to be a community of balance. But also, in becoming a community of balance, we can remind one another that all of us benefit when each of us in balance. That means appreciating our volunteers when they say no and when they say yes. That means understanding that we each have varying gifts and priorities and can share ourselves differently with those around us. That means remembering that we are part of a whole, and we certainly don’t have to do it all ourselves.

    I am grateful to watch those who leap and flip and jump with ease on those balance beams. I stand in awe. But I also appreciate it when someone steadily and slowly proceeds across with their feet firmly grounded. May we all find our own way of moving along, and may we be steadied by our inner peace and by helping hands around us.