On a properly socially-distanced Pastoral visit I was invited to stand in the middle of my parishioner’s apartment. From that vantage point I was perfectly placed to see each of the four rooms that made up her home. It was moment of perfect balance, but in that moment of balance, I was nowhere. I could see into each room, but I was not in any of them.
Balance is a curious thing. It is something, yet it is nothing. Writing this on the Vernal equinox, the sun will be seen for just as long as it will be hidden. What is the true meaning of that temporary temporal balance? We may mark it as a curiosity, but in truth, the balance between day and night has little import.
Balance is a fragile thing. The slightest force can tip over a dancer delicately balanced on one toe. While she seems stable and secure in her footing, every muscle in her body is hard at work responding to, and working against, the slightest air current or other factor that might cause her to become unbalanced. Balance is a difficult thing to maintain.
We seek to remain neutral on a subject. Balanced. Level headed. We don’t want to cause waves or upset the delicate equilibrium between ourselves and someone who is different from us. Or maybe we’re comfortable where we are, even though we know that our comfort comes at the cost of being better than we can be. Only when we lose our balance can we move forward. A Ballerina standing statically might be beautiful for a moment, but it is when she moves with determined grace that the true beauty of her dance is revealed.
As people of faith we often seek to balance our religion with every other aspect of our lives. We want the best of what God has to offer along with the best that society offers. But when we try to balance our lives that way we forget or ignore the reality of the Christ who threw Himself into life fully as God’s Son. Jesus didn’t live with one foot in Heaven and the other on Earth; he immersed Himself in this life as the full expression of God’s love, wisdom and power. He did not balance His Spiritual and Physical nature; He drew them together and lived as His full Son-of-God self.
It’s hard for us humans to be the full Spiritual beings we are meant to be, but having been created in God’s image, it is something we are invited to strive for. We can’t simply balance our earthly lives with our Spiritual ones. We are called to shape and inform every aspect of our existence so that it reflects our own bit of God’s image. We are called to love and serve others as Christ did. We are called to care for creation and our neighbour as God does for us.
And if we tip over in the process, God’s forgiveness restores us and offers us another chance.
Balance is good. But it is in the imbalance, in the motion, that we truly live as we are meant to do.