There’s not much more agitating than the sound of ker-THUNK, ker-THUNK, the washing machine walking across the floor because it’s unbalanced and unhappy. Usually, it happens when I’m up to my elbows in something else, so it’s either let the washer continue to suffer or drop what I’m doing, wash my hands, and rush to push the magic pause button and try to redistribute the load to purr more like a happy cat than a raging bull. Such noises bother me.
I know what it feels like to feel unbalanced – like the washing machine but without the wet clothes. I’ve had balance problems for some years now, and even walking down the street can make it look like I’ve been on a 2-week bender even though I never imbibe in alcohol. I can trip over my feet and pretend there’s a crack in the sidewalk or something on the floor that made me fumble-footed. It doesn’t work. I still feel clumsy and concerned I’ll fall and break something, namely a hip.
There are times when life itself seems unbalanced, clumsy, anxiety-inducing, and unpleasant. I can really empathize with the washer, but I wish I could resolve my issues without having to pull things out, dripping all over the floor, and rearrange them, so things go correctly. I guess I could try to load my life more carefully, ensuring balance in every part of the circle. But when life throws a curve ball, it can mess up the whole thing.
Sometimes rebalancing can be simple, as simple as making more time for this activity and spending a little less on another. I could walk a bit more since I need to exercise more, but at 100°+ and higher-than-usual humidity, I don’t really want to do that. If I wait until it gets dark, I don’t feel safe wandering around, and the time before sunrise is the time I want to maximize my sleep. I live in a small place, so there isn’t much room to walk around or use exercise equipment. Now, if I were the size of a cat, that might work. So here we go with unbalance again.
I usually do my prayers in chunks. My primary time is just after I go to bed, and I often spend 10 minutes or more just reciting my prayer list before I try to get in other things I want to ask or give thanks for. During the day, arrow prayers get sent up when I see something on Facebook, in an email, or on my EfM group page. I seldom need my keys anymore, so my arrow intercessions to St. Anthony are fewer and far between. Pain prayers when my joints lock when I get up from bed or a chair are getting more frequent, as are pious words when I jam my toes or feel like I’m going to fall. I try to pray when I do my knitting at night since I’m mainly knitting shawls for people who might need the prayers, which works too.
Sometimes it’s easier to connect with my best friend than God, but on the whole, I think it pretty much evens out. If I were a nun in a convent or monastery, I’d have my time set for work, worship, study, meditation, and prayer. Living as I do, I can control my time pretty much as I want, so I probably should do more praying for the ambition to get up and do housework instead of sitting to finish a book I’ve been reading or a pattern in my knitting. Perhaps I need a more scheduled lifestyle, with so much time for this at such-and-such time of day and so forth. I tend to do certain chores on certain days, so maybe I’m in the process of doing that. Perhaps I need to fiddle with the schedule to add a little more study time and slightly less nap time. Maybe I can go back to a school-like schedule where I have an hour for this, followed by something else, and so on until I finish the jobs and the day is over.
It’s all a matter of discipline, and I know I had it when I needed to when it came to getting work done. Maybe it’s time I took it out of the closet, dust it off, and use it to my advantage. Perhaps my spiritual and prayer lives will benefit as well. I guess I won’t know until I try, will I?
Linda Ryan is a co-mentor for an Education for Ministry group, an avid reader, lover of Baroque and Renaissance music, and retired. She keeps the blog Jericho’s Daughter. She lives with her three cats near Phoenix, Arizona