Finding some kind of balance in your life may seem like a hopeless quest. I know it has seemed like for me through the years. Once children arrive, life is dominated by their needs, crises and more crises. All kind of life situations can preclude balance. If you get enough of those situations piled on top of each other, life is about survival and it can numb you.
What I mean by balance isn’t a perfectly measured amount of work and rest, that isn’t even possible, but rather some kind of insertion of joy and relaxation into life, to provide a countering effect to work, stress and the inevitable negativity. Maybe I should say life is about finding a”counterbalance” somewhere.
I grew up in a world where the spiritual needs of strangers always trumped our own needs. Sacrificing oneself for the larger Cause was a virtue. Anybody who wasn’t on board for that was suspect, probably worldly and lacking in Christian zeal. The sins of others, the ugliness of reporting it non-stop, can corrode your soul without you realizing it. Living in an unbalanced way over a lifetime is a guaranteed disaster—to health, family relationships and real spiritual life. Burnout is ugly. Hideous, actually.
Jesus Christ himself knew the importance of going away from the crowds and resting (Mark 6:31.) He also knew how to celebrate with others. In that delightful miracle at the wedding reception at Cana, he turned water into wine for the enjoyment of the guests. He attended the reception, and even as a Man of Sorrows, Acquainted with Grief, he took time to attend and contribute to the joyous event.
I’ve written several posts where I’ve listed what I call “joy blips.” It’s a recurring theme here at my small blog. My life has been a big struggle to focus on those joy blips in the face of a non-stop negative stress. But I think it’s a worthwhile fight! What kind of message do we send our children when we hunker down to battle evil in the trenches with no countering effect of joy, no respite? Nice religion, Mom and Dad, I’ll take a pass. And who could blame them?
Yes, the hour is dark, and I believe our nation is facing the cumulative results of its rejection of God and His Word. But we have hope. We have a reason to smile. We have a reason, yes, to rejoice and even throw a party now and then. Because God loves us, provides for us, and gives us his Son to lighten our hearts no matter how dark it gets.
Tom and I, even in the face of his hectic work schedule, have been trying to have more fun and do things out of the box. We went to a very out-of-the box concert not long ago, and it provided a lot of laughs and discussion about music. I got a library book the other day that was better than a prescription from the pharmacy. It was a book about fiction writing and common mistakes aspiring authors make. It had me nearly on the floor more than once, the authors’ examples of bad writing were so funny. I think you extend your life a few minutes every time you laugh. Seriously. (OK, that was intended!)
Valentine’s Day is one week away. I absolutely love this song below by Irish singer, Shane Filan, because it describes the way my husband of nearly 19 years makes me smile. The video portrays an Irish wedding reception and the true joy of real love. Shane’s first solo album was written about his wife and family, and Gillian and his three sweet children are seen in the video (that’s his wife and little boy at 2:05, and that’s Shane dancing with his daughter at 2:40.) It’s all about the joy of love. Imagine that. In 2014, somebody is still writing happy songs about real love. (And the Mustang he’s driving in the beginning reminds me of Tom’s 1966 Mustang, a burgundy fastback, that we drove away in after we were married!)
Tom’s knee deep in my heart. God is in his heaven, and that’s a reason for me to smile today!