They are building a bridge in Charleston.
Each time I drive by, I feel the magnitude of the thing in the pit of my stomach. It is a huge mass of concrete; so heavy that they must pour the liquid stone on each end alternately, 16 feet at a time, so as to maintain a precarious balance. A heap of heaviness and tangled scaffolding right now, it fills me with awe at what mankind can do.
Jake Stump, Charleston Daily Mail reporter, says in a recent article about the bridge, “It’s a balancing act of mammoth proportions.”
So, today I am thinking about balance.
I am thinking about the construction workers carefully measuring out concrete. I am thinking about the engineers who calculate exactly what steps to take in building the thing.
I am thinking I need some guys like this to work out the balance in my life.
This concept, touted by self-help gurus and pop psychologists, simply eludes me.
It seems, just when I get things figured out, more concrete is poured and I’m leaning slightly to one side again.
I had to laugh tonight, when I asked a friend (and Pastor’s wife) what Bible study their evening women’s group was doing. The reply: The Frazzled Female.
Friends, may I humbly ask: What are we doing to ourselves?
How can I get up at 5:30 a.m. and still not get everything done that needs doing?
This morning, after getting the boys to school, I sit down to my Bible study. I then check email, do a little writing on the novel, go for a run. As I run, I go through the checklist of things that need doing before boy #1 gets home from school: trip to mall to find the perfect birthday present for hubs (in case the one I ordered doesn’t make it in in time), grocery store run, make Boston Cream pie for dinner with friends tonight, research on upcoming talk…
Then I remember I forgot to put a load of laundry in before leaving the house.
I usually run for about an hour, in which time the washer cycle would have had time to complete a load of clothes. I’m already an hour behind.
I cut the run short a mile, rush back home, decide to shirk a shower in favor of saving time (spray a lot of good smelly stuff), run to the mall. I remember about half way there that I once again forgot to put the laundry in.
Walking down the mall corridor, I glimpse a man holding a tray of little clear cups with something white in them. By this time it’s noon and my tummy is growling. My first mistake was being weak enough to take a second glance.
Then…I made eye contact.
It wasn’t Italian ice. It was hand cream.
I had my nails buffed by a pushy Frenchman who didn’t know enough English to understand a simple, “No Thank you.”
Twenty more minutes behind.
I do, however, find the perfect gift (can’t wait to tell you what it is—maybe even have pictures), after combing the stores for what seems like an eternity. Rush to grocery store (I leave by a different door and walk around the mall on the outside to avoid the pushy Frenchman).
Finally back home. Begin to make my Boston Cream Pie. Once it’s in the oven it’s time to run up to the bus stop to fetch boy #1.
Boy #1 is excited by baking supplies on the counter. He decides he wants to invent a dessert of his own.
Behind again. (Have you ever eaten a mixture of Betty Crocker icing, milk, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, half a chocolate chip muffin, and a shortbread cookie? All mixed together in the blender? Divine.)
We are a little late to our friends’ house for dinner, but the Boston Cream Pie was delish. (um-and I did take a shower; but I forgot to put the laundry in before leaving the house.)
My face has windburn from the speed that I went through this day. But after dinner tonight, time stood still.
Sitting in the floor, playing with my friend’s toddler, the sound of children’s laughter the music of the evening, husbands engaged in deep discussion, this sweet friend beside me—tickling her child…
For the first time this day, I breathe deeply. I breath in friendship, and laughter, and good conversation. I breath in smiles, and hugs, and belly tickles.
This is God’s balance.
And it will always feel slightly off balance by the world’s standards.
When we arrive home, tired but filled up with good feelings, I pause.
As I walk Lucy Mae around the house, my eyes are drawn upward. Sky is filled with wispy clouds, red-tinged fingers of sunset linger…
Beauty floods through me.
The beauty of a God-centered life. The kind of life that will always have dishes in the sink; the kind of life that allows dessert experiments.
The kind of life that forgets to put in the laundry.
Now that’s balance. And I like the way it leans.