Balancing It All

by MW Cook

I had a thought about a month ago. I think it’ll be a quick one.

Balance. It’s important, right? It keeps us from being extreme. Balance allows us to moderately benefit from competing ideas. We are forced to create a balance between a lot of things:

The time we spend working and the time we spend with out families.
The money we give and the money we keep.
The time we spend awake and the time we spend asleep.
The time we spend creating and the time we spend consuming.
The time we spend in leisure and the time we spend in productivity.
The time we spend talking and the time we spend listening.
The meat we eat and the vegetables we eat.

You know what struck me about this list? All these things are mutually exclusive. You cannot devote yourself to one without detriment to its opposite. You cannot spend all your time working and still spend all your time with your family. So there must be balance. Right? Of course right.

Now, take that list and mix things up. Would you say that there needs to be a balance between eating vegetables and spending time with family?

That question doesn’t make sense, does it? Those two things aren’t opposites. They aren’t mutually exclusive. The one is not the antithesis of the other. Heck, they aren’t even related to each other. So why even bring that question up? It’s like trying to find a balance between leisure time and charity. Or between climbing trees and thinking about ducks. Or between laughing and scratching. It’s just plain silly.

So why, oh why, do we talk about finding an elusive balance between doing spiritual good and social good?