Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Balanced Life

St. Benedict wrote in his rule to live a balanced life. So, you don't come to the monastery to pray all day. Instead, Benedict encourages all to live a balanced life of prayer, work, study, and leisure.

This probably isn't the kind of balance that Benedict had in mind, but my mom has a sign in the kitchen that reads, "A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand." I like that kind of balance. Some people find balance by ordering a Big Mac and a Diet Coke. That works too.

Recently I took a trip down memory lane and thought of balance. I grew up in a small town, so the closest mall to us was about 35 - 40 minutes away. My mom, brother, and I always celebrated when we were there by sharing a big cookie and a large Diet Coke. It was a great tradition. My mom usually managed to get a cookie crumb or two and possibly a sip of soda. My brother and I got the rest.

I went to the mall a few days ago and bought my balanced snack of a large cookie and a medium Diet Coke. I don't even want to mention how much that cost. It was the memory I was reliving, so it really didn't matter.

My mom always encouraged us to have fun and enjoy what we were doing. Sometimes that may mean splurging a little bit. It may mean buying a big cookie at the mall no matter how outlandish the price. It may mean taking time for yourself and doing what you enjoy. This time will only come around once, so take advantage of it. Live it to its fullest. I believe that is when we will have balance in our lives. Go out. Be kind to yourself. Take the time you need to live a balanced life of prayer, work, study, and leisure.

If you feel your life is becoming a little off balance, try the more concrete approach - have a cookie in each hand and enjoy.

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