“Life is hectic. There is no time to relax. I can’t find a balance between work and play. I rush here and there but seem to be going in circles.”
The award-winning movie “To Make a Farm” follows the stories of five young people who decide to farm. They find great pleasure in developing their properties, tilling their soil and marketing their products. All of them comment on how much work is involved during the busy growing season. One woman expresses regret that starting a farm takes her away from libraries, leisurely reading and digesting the daily news. She hopes to resume a more reflective life after harvest, and to find more balance between work and leisure.
When I became a military chaplain, I was sent to the legendary quartermaster stores to collect my uniforms, boots, sleeping bag, and even a tin plate, knife and fork. The corporal stacked an enormous mound of stuff on the table. Then he handed me a kit bag to pack it in. I struggled but could not get it all in the bag. Finally the soldier said, “Padre, let me show you how to pack this stuff.” He folded each item and found a space for everything.
I wonder if Jesus was thinking about balance in life when he said, “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.” When you jam items into a lunch bucket in a haphazard way, you end up carrying part of your lunch in a separate bag. If you arrange the items, they usually fit.
Kelly edits the Alberta Flying Farmers Newsletter. He also has a full-time job and volunteers in his church and community. A few months ago he “was working night and day and getting only a few hours sleep each night.” He asked some friends to pray for him “to make his life not so hectic.” He says his prayers were answered. His life is still busy but he is sleeping more, enjoying his job and eating more balanced meals.
I have had many conversations with people in nursing homes. Not one of them has tried to impress me with a resumé. All of them have told me about their families, their work, their church, their hardships and moments when they made a difference for someone else. Their gratitude pours out of their stories. If there is a regret, it is a wish they had spent more time doing things that had real meaning.
Speaking of balance, Joseph Lowery, a preacher from the American South, tells the story of a farmer from south Georgia. The farmer sold rabbit sausage and nearly got rich at it. “He sold his product to people who did not eat pork. When the supply of rabbits became scarce, he used horse meat but continued to call it rabbit sausage. Somebody snitched on him. Federal food investigators objected to calling his product rabbit sausage because he was using horse meat and as many rabbits as he could find. The inspectors evaluated his product and accused him of misleading the public. They suggested he should correctly advertise the proportion of the contents. The farmer began advertising contents with equal parts of horse and rabbit, and stood firm on this claim. They questioned him again about the portions he was using in making the sausage. He assured the inspectors he used equal amounts of each ingredient. “Every time I put in one rabbit, I put in one horse.”