One of the most dangerous ideas afflicting our culture today is that of balance. We talk about balancing career and family, or having a balanced diet, or keeping a balanced perspective, but when we live like this, constantly afraid to do anything that might upset the carefully constructed balance of our lives, we also fail to believe and to do the things that are truly important. Living a balanced life permits no great loves, no great deeds, no great passions.
Now, I’m not suggesting that everyone should run out and throw themselves into some craziness or another just to add spice to their lives. What I’m suggesting is that we forgo a life of cautious balance in favour of the tension that lies between great and driving passions.
Let me be clear here. Being passionate in this way does not mean following your bliss. It does not mean dancing like no one is watching. It means loving things worth loving, and loving them so much that you are willing to do and to be and to sacrifice whatever they require of you. It means loving family and community, friendship and conviviality, justice and hospitality, mercy and forgiveness. It means loving them enough to do the things that bring them about.
Too many people stay with a spouse for fear of upsetting their lives. Too few stay because they have fostered a great and encompassing love.
Too many people have children to satisfy social expectations of what the family should look like. Too few have children because they love what the family can be.
Too many people volunteer their time out of duty. Too few volunteer their time because they love to see justice and mercy done.
Too many people are looking for balance. Too few are willing to live in the tension of great passion.