This past week we have experienced some very windy conditions. The wind comes in these great gusts that turn the leaves of the trees inside out. There are many fallen branches and leaf debris on the sidewalks, streets and in the gutters. In the corner of our front garden is a fifteen year old butterfly bush. I have pruned it over the years but I must admit, not very well. Consequently it is about 10 feet tall with an umbrella-like branch structure emerging from a gnarly wooded trunk. When I say umbrella-like, it is more like one of those discarded umbrellas found pushed up against fences in alleys- opened on one side and half bent on the other.
The thing is, in looking at the bush, it appeared to be fine. Sure, it didn't have complete symmetry but that created some interest. Unfortunately I never realized how precarious the bush was. I didn't realize how much my inept pruning was weakening the plant.
It was only when I was out watering when I thought it seemed strange that the white hydrangea bush (which was under the butterfly bush) was looking squashed. Turns out the entire butterfly bush was blown over in the wind storms. It was just barely hanging on the the trunk by a small connection. The only thing I could do to "save" the bush was to cut through the tear and hope that I didn't cut back too much of the bush.
The bush was unbalanced hence it didn't have the ability to withstand the mighty winds.
What a great metaphor for our lives: when we are not balanced in our life we are easily toppled over. Some of the things that we do might not appear to be weakening our lives (like my asymmetrical pruning) and in fact might look okay. It is only when conditions change, generally beyond our control, and the storms of life toss us to and fro that we realize being off balanced puts our survival, aka sanity, in jeopardy.
Our lives end up looking like the discarded umbrella- not much good to anyone let alone ourselves.
I have been feeling unbalanced with my schedule lately-spending too much time with certain endeavors while neglecting others. It makes me feel anxious and agitated. I am in no position to be productive for anyone else let alone myself. When I receive a flurry of requests of my time, I feel like I will just collapse under the weight and force of the appeal for my time.
What about you? How balanced is your life? Do you feel that you are leaning in one direction over another? Is it a temporary situation or has it become so gradual that it is now a permanent feature in your life? How can you recover balance? Do you need to prune some things out of your life: saying no to things that are taking over in your schedule? Do you need to say yes to other things in order to allow that "side" of you to grow?
I don't know about you, but I don't want my life to become like the discarded umbrella. I want to become a person who is strong, steady, resilient and useful.