Hanging in the Balance

It is RAINING on the Central Coast of California, and I have been thinking about water and how it brings both rejuvenation and destruction but not necessarily balance. You know, the lighter side of life.

I am wildly grateful for the rain; the state profoundly needs it and more. I love the sound of it falling on the roof. The hills will finally be green, and yet there are mudslides, flooding, power outages.

A good rainstorm doesn’t restore balance. It seems to me that, though nature always gets back to balance—overpopulated species run out of food and die off, for example—it doesn’t exist in what we would think of as balance all the time. We don’t get the perfect amount of rain every year. We have a drought, we have a storm, there is flooding.

There have always been droughts, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, locusts. There have always been times of plenty and times of not much. And since we were created into this world, it must be the world we’re asked to live in, a world with valleys and peaks, with easier times and harder ones. So the balance, apparently, is up to us.

I tend to approach my life with the assumption that if I could do everything perfectly, I could somehow avoid valleys and peaks, but that’s impossible. The rain will fall or it won’t; the question is how to exist in tune with what’s happening in times of plenty and times of less, whether that’s less rain, less financial stability or less emotional ease.

I’m afraid we’re back to the “a word”—acceptance. To live in balance, we have to live in tune with what’s happening right now, not what we wish were happening. And we have to recognize that what’s happening right now won’t always be happening.

I think this is really hard to do—to be truly present and truly hopeful—but I suspect that if we can get those two, being truly joyful comes along with them.

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