Shirin McArthur

prayerful pondering

Balance

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DSC_1806While the northeastern US has been inundated with snow and ice this winter, New Mexico has been unusually dry. We’re already having grass fires in our area, even though the fire season shouldn’t begin until spring. As I’m writing this, clouds are moving by overhead, blown by the wind, but chances are miniscule that they will drop any measurable moisture.

It’s a little frightening to think about the fire season starting in February and running through June. When I was young, fire season lasted around two months out of the year; five months of dry, windy conditions is both sobering and saddening. Most of our 6.5 acres are covered with very dry grasses, waving in the wind, which are unfortunately also prime candidates for catching and spreading the merest spark of fire, whether from wood stoves, burning trash or even passing vehicles.

As I watch the weather patterns across the US I have a great sense of the climate in this country being terribly out of balance. How else can we have far too much moisture in the northeast and far too little in the southwest?

What has caused this shift? What factors have created this imbalance? Questions like this eventually bring me back to my own actions, and the balance—or lack thereof—in my own life. The past couple of weeks have been extremely busy for me, work-wise, and while I am grateful for the income, I recognize that I cannot sustain this level of work without a period of rest and recovery—a chance to refill my drying body and spirit from the deep well of Spirit.

That Holy Spirit has a sense of humor in this regard, because I’m also preparing to give a couple of retreat-style talks for clergy in early March on Sabbath and the need to find ways to balance our lives, even in the face of unpredictability. Whether it’s a death in the priest’s parish or three clients wanting work completed in the same timeframe, those clergy and I face the same unknowns when it comes to our schedules. This could lead us into the quicksand of overwork, or it could be an invitation to find those moments of stillness—whether a few minutes or a few hours—which renew us enough to embrace whatever is coming next.

Is your life out of balance? What factors are creating imbalance in the weather patterns of your days? Is your soul so dry that you are in danger of spreading wildfire? What can you do, in a few minutes or a few hours, to begin rebalancing your life?

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