People keep talking about balancing work and home life as if were actually even a possibility. I'm finding in my world, that balance looks more like an Alexander Calder mobile that didn't quite past muster. It hangs askew from the ceiling with a limp and peculiar air about it and I'm not sure if its pathetic for its planning or its execution, in either case - the vision before me is anything but glorious.
There's not simply the question of two opposing forces balancing; in fact, the deadly component no one mentions are the dozens of little balancing acts within each topic. Balancing the politics at work with the actual need to get something accomplished. Balancing what gets accomplished and who looks to gain what, from it..well, you get the drift; balancing within a balance.
Watching Bethany get off the school bus the other day, I was suddenly overcome with a glimpse of all the poorly balanced items in my life. For the eternity of one minute, I was fully aware of how my world is totally beyond my control; how my work is meaningless, how professionally I really don't matter, how organizationally I'm in shambles and how artistically I'm impotent. I saw how my marriage is failing, how my children have been left in the cold, and how the things I love have been bereft of my attention. It wasn't an admission of failure, it was acknowledgment of the fact that I never was in control of any of those from the onset!
This revelation all began with one glimpse of a tussled mop of black hair, bundled in a big purple down coat. Through the dirty back window of the bus I could see her marching forward, intent on a snack or a quick right hook to whomever greeted her first. I saw in that single clear and deliberate action all the things that I counted as success in my life, and how I'd totally, freakin', missed the point.
Bethany, a severely mentally impaired child who fumbles through life with Autistic and Cerebral Palsy behaviors, coupled with partial blindness and a host of other conditions - showed me the essential priority in life. Unconditional, undeserved love. Nothing else matters.
I stood there in the kitchen, tears rolling down my cheeks as I sobbed. I cried not for her, I cried for all of us.