I watched a young boy spinning a top the other day. Well, trying to spin it.
He wasn’t having much luck, despite a surprising amount of persistence for one so young.
He’d get it kind of upright, but then it would wobble, lop over on its side, roll in circles, and stop. Repeatedly.
Exasperated, he said, “I can’t make it spin. Can you?”
Applying my experience (borne from similar efforts in my own youngster years) I managed, after several attempts, to get it spinning. It hummed around in bright circles for some time before finally starting that deadly wobble and eventually succumbing to the greater force of gravity.
What makes it spin, he asked.
Well, there’s a good question. I explained the best I could that a top spins when the combination of its velocity and balance exceeds gravity. When it starts slowing down, then it starts to wobble, which throws it further off balance, which makes it wobble even more, which throws it off balance even more, and it finally tips over.
He went back to playing with his top. I pondered what I’d just told him.
Balance is what we want in our lives, and yet it’s so elusive. We spin through our days trying to stay at top velocity, and yet the wobbling is just one stumble away. Sometimes we have zenith moments when we’re on track and wobble-free, and going so fast the spinning makes us giddy. But then some obstacle gets in our path, the velocity staggers, the wobble sets in, the balance goes down, and so do we. Then we pick ourselves up, try to get going again, try to build up speed, always reaching for the things that help us stayed balanced — whatever they are.
It made me wonder about the things that keep me balanced.
My husband is an accountant-type person who analyzes costs of products at his work. He puts numbers in boxes on huge spreadsheets and works with them to help his company stay solvent. At my work I throw words on pages to communicate messages to people. We’re the perfect example of opposites attracting.
He has his world; I have mine, and we usually don’t cross into each others’ because we’re uncomfortable there.
So he really lit up when I told him I was working on a personal Balance Sheet.
His enthusiasm lagged a little when I told him it wasn’t a spreadsheet and didn’t involve numbers. But his interest picked up when he learned he’s the first item on the list.
It’s true: if I’m not aligned with him, then nothing else stays balanced.
The same is true with my family. I may be contentedly aligned with all but one of them, but that’s enough to throw everything off. Since the need for congenial relationships with others beyond my immediate family has that same effect,
I added that to the list. My Balance Sheet also included feeling satisfied with what I’m doing at work, using talents and skills meaningfully, decent health, study and prayer, contributing to society, learning something new, and some semblance of order in my home.
Most people’s Balance Sheets are probably similar. That’s a lot of things to keep aligned, to keep upright, to keep spinning. No wonder we often feel unsteady. Balance happens when we’re spinning in circles with everything equally aligned. But how often does that happen in real life when so many things push and pull at us?
Tops fall over because they inevitably succumb to outside forces, lose velocity, lose balance, and go down.
It seems the answer is to stop spinning in circles and start heading in one direction.
Keeping a Balance Sheet just got a whole lot easier.
Contact Louise Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org