Where I live in the world, it's getting cold right now. Snow is starting to fall, people have been stocking firewood. Where many of my friends live, it's getting warmer. In fact, summer is just around the corner.
I sometimes think of summer as a demanding girlfriend that drags all the heat and warmth over the other side of the earth as it suits her but it's not hard to imagine winter as a bit of a bully, encroaching on the sun with cloud and darkness and eventually pushing the warmth right away. This push and pull is the earth's way of constantly balancing herself.
Searching for equilibrium
In physics class, you learn fast that every action has an opposite and equal reaction. Then in chemistry class you learn how to balance the reactions of chemicals to one another to achieve a desired result. It's called equilibrium. No matter how small the molecules or large their force, every push creates a pull.
We long for balance, the point of equilibrium between the action and reaction. We like to think of balance as a peaceful place, we make it a virtue when we talk about people being well-balanced, or all-rounders. I've even heard people talk about Jesus as perfectly balanced in temperament and mood! We idolise what we think it means to be balanced.
Sometimes, winter feels like everything is out of balance for me. While the sun is out, I'm busy indoors with work that demands my time and when I want to play or need to rest—inevitably it's dark, raining or the sun just doesn't want to come out.
When it starts out, summer feels like balance—there are plenty of daylight sunshine hours to work, play and to be warm. It doesn't take too long for the shine to fade a little. I'm sunburnt, tired from constantly socialising and poor from vacation costs. Summer doesn't always offer that perfect peace.
Perfect balance is always the in smallest moment
Those few days in autumn and spring when the sun is still warm and the earth rich enough to feel alive. Balance is a state you move through, when the forces and reactions are equalised for just a moment.
The tide demonstrates this even better than the seasons with unceasing regularity. It's always coming or going, only ever finding the mid-point between high and low on its way between the two.
Perhaps true balance isn't the moment after all
Perhaps true balance and moments of peace are found in being tuned into the rhythm of the push and pull. Understanding the rhythm of the journey. That the seasons we leave behind and the seasons we lean ahead into will in fact, return to us again—in different stages, different places.
Balance is not found in the moment where everything feels perfect, it's the way we lean into the rhythm, perfectly in time.
Originally published for the USA 30 Hour Famine blog.
Tash McGill is a digital strategist by day. That means helping people make smart decisions about all things digital. Her passion is people and communicating ideas that shape our world, especially the world of young people. Formerly a youth worker and theologian, Tash is passionate about identity and spiritual formation alongside a healthy dose of hospitality.
Tash McGill's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tash-mcgill.html