Balance. I think now more than ever, it’s something more and more people are trying to find. Whether it’s balancing something complex as your life or something simple as your checkbook, we would all like to find that harmonious, tranquil equilibrium. It’s comforting, safe and if you are spatially oriented, symmetrical. In my life, it’s a constant struggle. If I were to define it, balance for me is being able to swirl in different directions but still find myself grounded in one spot. Whirling dervishes come into mind.
It seems the more I try to find balance, the more unbalanced I become. The matchbook or wad of paper can never exactly right that wobbly table. I shift things around but I forget I need to add to both sides of the equation. Here’s one my underlying problems, instead of taking away, I add. A vertical slash turns a minus into a plus and I wonder why my life has become so over-burdened.
I know of only one person who has come close to achieving any sort of balance. My mother. She doesn’t think about it, doesn’t meditate over it and doesn’t analyze it. Her yin/yang confirms pretty well along the symbolic S-curve.
The best example is how she balances her spiritual and secular values. First, let me paint a picture of my mom. She’s a short, spritely seventy three year old Vietnamese woman with a long mane of black hair absent of any grey or white strands. She loves home remedies for anything that ails her. She’s fiercely independent and deeply religious. Everyday, she goes to the morning service at the Catholic Church down the street. She cites her limited access to a church as the main reason why she refuses to visit any of my brothers and sisters. The other day I was kidding with her and told her that air conditioning had just been installed in Hell. The look she gave me made me wonder if I would have been better off as one of the first born smote by the hand of God.
After coming home from church, my mother immediately turns on the TV and continues her devotion by watching mass on television. Then she follows that up with praying the full rosary with nuns on the same channel.
But she’s not the strict churchmarm she purports to be.
Just when you think she’s going to continue on this religious track, she switches channels. The monotonous murmurs of Hail Mary’s give way to a crescendo chant of Jerry, Jerry, Jerry! Jerry Springer blooms into view and my mother is enthralled, her eyes never leave the screen. Even though she doesn’t understand much of the show, she knows the key words: baby daddy, redneck, slut, etc. And of course, the fights. She loves to watch pfizer viagra no prescription the fights. She doesn’t care if they are staged or online order prescription viagra if they are actors. She laughs and sometimes she clasped her hands – those same hands that piously hold her rosary – to her mouth to suppress a loud snicker.
When I ask her how she can watch the show, she shrugs and without much thought replies, I like to watch the people. That’s not healthy I tell her. But she ignores me and continues to watch two women claw at each other. One, if not both, of the two women’s breast, inevitably pops out. She cackles in enjoyment.
Perhaps she likes to watch the people she is praying for. Perhaps she feels sorry for them. Perhaps she revels in the fact that she is not one of them. Perhaps I’m over-analyzing.
But then I realize it comes back to balance. As I mentioned, my mother doesn’t delve into the metaphysical definition of balance. If watching Jerry Springer after mass brings her happiness, why question it. Doesn’t drama-deprived balance out drama-filled?
I don’t quite understand my mother, but I’ll have to admit maybe she’s got something. Things do have a way of naturally balancing out if we just let them. I’ve been programmed to believe that balance is something mystical, ephemeral, and elusive. What if I just don’t try so hard? After all, even a three-legged table can stand up on its own. It’s something worth thinking about. Meanwhile, Jerry, Jerry, Jerry pipes through the house and I can’t help but to chant along.
August 18, 2009