Tuesday, May 3, 2016

No Good

The first major problem with the idea of balance is a logical one. 

What do we mean when we talk about balance? We mean that there are opposing forces in the world and that our best life comes from having equal measure of both - day and night, work and play, light and dark, wins and losses, good and bad, closed doors and open doors, hot and cold. Name anything in the known universe, name any experience you have ever had or hope to have, and it isn't too difficult to name an opposing thing, an opposite experience. 

And we figure this is not only inevitable, but it is good.

We even quote Scripture, particularly like that found in Ecclesiastes, to support this notion. The spokesman himself tells us "there is a time for everything under the sun - a time to live, a time to die; a time to rejoice, a time to grieve; a time to build up and a time to tear down," and so on. 

But here's the problem with trying to incorporate such an idea into the concept of "balance:" it doesn't work. If you live your life bouncing between opposing forces, you're not balanced; you're always off-center. You're always more one way than the other. Your life is not some stable entity between two extremes; it's a series of ups and downs. It's a series of lefts and rights. One day, you're grieving; one day, you're rejoicing. Does this really feel like the middle ground to you?

Is your best life lived on a pogo stick?

Of course not! But we have convinced ourselves that this is the goal. This is the aim. To live life in whatever seasons its brings us, always being along for the ride. Always being tossed by the waves. This is great! we say, as we are tossed from one side of the ship to the other. My life is in perfect balance! These waves have just the right number of ups and downs!

It sounds silly to hear it like that, but this is exactly what we are buying into. It's no wonder that when our lives seem "perfectly in balance," we still feel a little seasick. But this is what we have convinced ourselves is good. 

You want to know another secret? 

It's not good. It can't be. Balance can never be good.

Balance itself requires opposing forces to be present. All of the good in your life is balanced by all of the bad. So if you discover that balance is good, you inevitably find yourself waiting for imbalance, which is bad. Because life cannot only be good. A so-called "balanced" life cannot be purely good. To be only good would be a contradiction of itself. It can only be good if it is balanced with bad.

Herein lies the logical contradiction. 

But Ecclesiastes says....

Yes, Ecclesiastes says that we live our lives in seasons, and we do. But seasons are not balanced; balance is only a surface reflection of the seasons. What's really going on between summer, autumn, winter, and spring - or between any of the seasons of our lives - is tension. 

Stay tuned. We're getting there....

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