It's not a healthy way of living, they say. It's not balanced. People who care are concerned and I'm grateful to them for it. Dr A. N. tells me I should go away from Tallinn every now and then to rest. A., the secretary of our conference's ministerial association, talked to me last week after the executive board's meeting and asked me about how I was doing hobbies wise. I. asked... no, he didn't ask much, he just told me to take two days off and not to deal with work email until Friday.
But I have a couple of questions. And they're not rhetorical questions neither do I throw them in the air with arrogance. They're real questions. Why is balanced life important? Why do we think balance is something we ought to pursue? Is it an ideal? Why?
If I read the Old Testament, the people God called hardly ever lived a life we could call balanced. Heavens, there were some prophets who, I have a feeling, were driven to the brink of insanity and depression. Jesus was so mission and purpose driven it consumed all His waking hours - and maybe those of sleeping as well. Disciples, once they actually got what Jesus had been all about, weren't much different. And Paul was maybe the worst of the lot, he rode a donkey across Asia and planted churches everywhere, he got beaten by Jews, got beaten by Romans, got thrown out of cities, survived shipwrecks, and he never seemed to stop for a day. Only when in prison and unable to go on, he would write letters to his friends that smelled of melancholy and reflections.
Maybe these people didn't have anything in their lives that would have been nearly as weighty as their calling so whatever they put on the other scale pan, it just didn't weight as much so the life remained unbalanced. Now, I'm not comparing myself to the Old Testament prophets or the apostles of the early Christianity, but I think the same principle can be alive and lived also today. I really don't have anything in my life to compare to my work and to what I think God has called me to do. Nada. So I keep wondering about these questions, not knowing the answers.
If you have an answer, do let me know also.
There is one more thing besides the never ending working hours which has kept me wondering. I've begun to act in a peculiar way, I've noticed these past weeks. And it has something to do with this whole balancing issue. I know well what is ought to be or what usually is on the other scale pan - a family. And I know just as well that I haven't got a family of my own. So to avoid the emptiness and loneliness or just to be able to put something on the other balancing scale pan I have become much more active socially. I hang out with friends every other night. I have a small Facebook chat group called бабы в кафе which we mostly use for deciding which cafe we should go to next. I invite people to my place, a thing I seldom do. I call brother K. after a long and tough Sabbath and eat mountains of Indian food late in the evening - probably the first occasion of comfort eating in my life. I stand in the middle of an old graveyard late at night with my dad, trying to spot some owls in the darkness. Yesterday evening I went ice skating with our church planting group (it was -15'C outside and I wasn't exactly thrilled about the prospect of freezing to death but it actually turned out to be a fun evening although it did take a while for toes and fingers to melt afterward). This coming Sunday I'm going to a birthday party, not that of a friend, but that of a friend's dog (taking things to a totally new level here).
I'm reading Elisabeth Elliot's Loneliness at the moment. Reading that book is like taking cough medicine - I hate it but I know it's good for me in the long run. She talks about how our loneliness can be turned into a gift, into something you bless the world with. I don't know if I agree with her completely but it does help me to give purpose and meaning to my own experience. In loneliness calling can be clearly heard, out of loneliness many meaningful contacts and friendships can be born.
So I keep living the life of imbalance. It really isn't a bad way of living.
And the good thing is that when my time is over, the world won't remember me by my loneliness or by my unanswered questions about balanced/unbalanced life but by my serving of God and church and by friendships and shared memories.