I recently had a day where, every time I turned around, I was tripping over something. There were a few moments where my balance was being challenged and I was not sure which side was going to win . . . up or down! I have to work a little harder at balance these days, and I have found that it is something that I definitely took for granted with full vision. On the surface, the cause of my clumsiness seemed to be that the spaces which are normally free of clutter were turned into mini obstacle courses. Seems like a vision thing, but upon deeper observation, it truly does have a lot to do with balance.
I have been able to avoid this problem (mostly) for the past couple of years; because we generally try to keep “trip-causing” items out of harm’s way . . . or out of the way of causing harm anyhow! One of the obstacle courses navigated this past week was the debris from where I cleaned out and rearranged our extra bedroom. I had boxes sitting around in the floor throughout the house while I was figuring out what to do with the contents of said boxes. I bumped into them a number of times and had to regain my balance. (Yes, eventually I moved them out of harm’s way!)
Then, I was gathering trash and recycle. I had a large trash bag nearly filled and just left it sitting at the end of the counter as I went to gather stuff from the waste bins in the bedrooms. As I went through the house I was distracted by something else (finding squirrels) and totally forgot about the trash bag sitting there. When I came back through the kitchen on a mission having nothing to do with finishing my trash-person duties, I ended up tripping over the bag that was sitting there. I was able to grab onto the kitchen counter for balance that time.
Then . . . shoes! The shoes were the thing that nearly got me the most. Mom had taken her shoes off and they were “hiding in plain sight” in front of the chair where she was sitting. I tripped right over them. Now, the boxes in the way, I could generally feel them with my legs to keep from falling over them, and the garbage bag was close enough to the counter to save me; but shoes – placed where I am not expecting them – will take me down! It just so happened that there was a love seat close enough to catch me!
It has been really interesting seeing how my limited vision has affected my balance in general. I have found that vision has a lot to do with balance and balance has a lot to do with where I end up . . . up or down!
I questioned my doctor about why, when I am at home, I do not have a lot of balance issues, (well as long as my mom keeps her shoes to herself!) But when I step outside, or especially when I am in a large space (like a big grocery store), my balance gets a little awkward and I am sometimes a little wobbly. He told me it was because my mind has my home (the place where I am the most) mapped, and as long as things are not moved around, my mind knows where the hazards are located.
What is also strange is that open spaces, parking lots, or large empty rooms make me a little dizzy. Generally if I am inside a smaller space, I do not have the same balance issues. I think it is because there are walls, or at least things that I can touch to balance myself. Some of you may notice me touching walls, tables, the backs of chairs, or the backs of the pews at church. I am just getting a sense of balance when I do this. I do carry a walking stick. It is for nothing more than balance. It has saved me from falling a few times when the ground becomes uneven when I am unaware.
I try to take my time and walk slowly, while still trying to feel like I maintain a bit of (somewhat youthful) independence. I am constantly checking the area in front and around me. I told someone I look like a chicken wandering around the barnyard looking for some grain to peck while at the same time trying to avoid the chicken hawk! I have also slowed down in a lot of the activities that I used to do. The crazy thing about being unwillingly slowed down is that I had been trying to slow down before the vision loss. I just could not seem to find that one little word that would have allowed that to happen. I have learned in the past two and a half years that “No” is not an ugly thing to say. I am trying to learn how to use it gracefully.
When you think about it, balance also carries over to our spiritual lives. When I look at my physical balance issues as related to my vision issues, I see a parallel to how I was living my life. I was busy, busy, busy doing good things . . . God things. The key word there, of course, is busy. I used the excuse of being busy doing godly things to eat up so much of my time that there was hardly any time for me to work on my relationship with God, for me to look around and see where God was already working. It was pretty one sided . . . it was me running as fast as I could to get to some imagined mark. We have all been told that we need balance in every area of our lives. I think that, somehow, we have been fooled into thinking that we need to balance our spiritual lives equally with our secular lives. I am beginning to seriously question that line of thinking.
For instance, those boxes I had sitting all around the house represent the areas in my spiritual life where I have allowed worldly priorities to pile up around me, just here and there, none of them all stacked up in one spot so they don’t seem to be taking precedence over the spiritual. They are big and bulky and make themselves known pretty quick. They must be maneuvered around and they can slow me down when I am attempting to get past them to priorities that are more important.
Then there is the garbage bag that I forgot all about, when it was supposed to bemy priority. It is like those things in my spiritual life that I want to be my main focus, and I concentrate on them – in the moment. Then, I get busy or someone asks me to do something else, or I just get bored, and there you have it. It is not a bulky, solid object. It is still a pretty good size, but I can be falling over it before I know it, and with nothing solid to grab a hold of, it can end up as a “down.” This one is going to take a little more agility within my spiritual life, and being active in pursuing my relationship with Christ so that these obstacles do not cause a hard fall.
Ah, and then we are back to those sneaky shoes that can trip me up and I might not even know what got me! I find that if I do not maintain a close relationship with my Lord, I can find those little hidden areas of disobedience that will cause me to take a hard fall. If I have the balance of my spiritual life weighted up on the spiritual side, and am in right communion and fellowship with God, then a lot of times I will find that there is something there to keep me from taking that deep dive into an area that will harm me seriously.
It sort of sounds like I am supporting a life that is balance all around, doesn’t it? You know, balance up a little to avoid those chunky, random issues. Then use that careful balance to keep away from those slippery areas that will get you. And most of all, use that hyper balance to be ahead of those things that can take you down. Well, that is not actually the case. When I add it all up, I want my spiritual life and my relationship with Jesus Christ to be so loaded up on the scale that it is ready to tip over. I want it to be one=sided. I want my life balance to be on Christ. I want the scales to be completely overloaded on the side of God.
Living in this world, away from our true home, having the scales weighted on God’s side means that my spiritual vision has to be clear and active and roaming all around me, looking up and down and around . . . yep . . . like that chicken wandering around the barnyard looking for some grain to peck and trying to avoid the chicken hawk! I need to be striving to serve God and not pleasing the world.
So hey, especially on this holy weekend of Easter, let us start living that life that is not balanced with the world scale. Look at ways you can overload the God side! Let us use God’s scale, God’s balance system, and then use our spiritual vision and stay on the “up” and not the “down!”
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)
Thank you to VisualHunt for use of the photo!
Photo on VisualHunt