Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Friday, April 1, 2016

Finding Balance (Homespun Philosophy Warning!)

At Sunset Shores RV Park, Willis, Texas...

Now that my infernal tooth abscess has been treated--mainly through a wealth transfer from me to Dr. Cain--I'm feeling a little philosophical. I don't know, perhaps it's the medication talking:

I've always heard about the importance of a balanced life but, for some reason, the subject has been on my mind more than usual now that I'm older and (supposedly) wiser. There are a number of older (and definitely wiser) folks who thought the same thing through the centuries, like the apostle Paul and Benjamin Franklin, to mention a couple of them.

Paul, in Phillipians 4, described how best to live a Christian life.  In that chapter, he recommended "moderation"--certainly a synonym for balance--and a host of other positive things worthy of one's contemplation. Verses 4-8 are a good read for anybody.

Benjamin Franklin promoted positive living by producing his "Thirteen Rules for a Virtuous Life," among them "moderation," which we call "balance" these days. I won't expound on Franklin's rules here, but they are easily Googled.

I think that if I dared add anything to what these men wrote, it would be "humor." I think one goes a long way toward finding balance by looking for humor in things and not taking oneself too seriously.  With this in mind, I'm going to share my own list of 10 attributes that I believe could help promote a balanced life. Humor, then, will be the first; they are not in any order:

1. Humor. Is there any happier group of people than RVers? If you are traveling in an RV, you probably have escaped work and the other humdrum activities of your existence. Who wouldn't be happy about that? Friends know that I make jokes and wisecrack with them but, sometimes at my peril, I'll cut up with RVers who are complete strangers; they usually come back with something even funnier or more sarcastic, which I love. I can't remember finding many sourpusses, and no one has ever hit me, thankfully.

2. Prioritization. Decide what's important. This may sound simple, but it's not. It is worth some serious introspection, so you can be certain you're not fooling yourself. For us, our freedom to roam is worth far more than the bondage of a house. Several of our friends have had an epiphany about this recently, just as we did. 

3. Positive Attitude. This is a choice one makes. Practice making that choice every day, even when it's not easy, and it will become a habit. (Faith in God and reliance on His guidance makes this a lot easier.)

4. Expect the Unexpected. Stuff happens, and most of it is trifling and not worth getting upset; however, some of it is serious. A famous preacher once said that there are two kinds of people: Those who have trouble in their lives and those for whom the phone hasn't yet rung. (See #3 above to deal with this.)

5. Share Time With Yourself and Others. You deserve some time for yourself, but stay connected with family and friends. Remember the old Scandinavian proverb: Go often to the house of a friend; for weeds soon choke up the unused path. 

6. Moderation in All Things. Take nothing in your body to excess; it's not good for body or mind. Don't do things to extremes; save a little for next time. Don't talk as much as you listen. (Sandy wanted me to take this one out.)

7. Forgive and Forget. Be quick to ask for forgiveness and quicker to give it. Resentment and anger can't live in that environment.

8. Be Charitable. Give of your time and resources as you are able; almost nothing is more satisfying. Be frugal and not wasteful; those of the most modest means among us are better off than most of the world.

9. Be Resolute. Do those things which you should be doing without putting them off and, once you agree to do something, don't fail to do it. (Being punctual also fits here. There is not much more disrespectful than being habitually late.)

10. Be Humble. This gets easier as you get older and realize how many of these things you messed up.

Now I don't pretend to have been very successful at all of these, but I wake up every day and try to get some of them right.

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I don't appreciate it enough each day.


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