Every morning that I can I spend some time sitting in silence. I try to calm my thoughts by focusing on my breathing and how my body feels in the chair, what I see out my window, especially Cooke’s Peak in the distance. When extraneous thoughts come (which they usually do in unrelenting waves) I set them aside on the shelf of my mind to attend to later. Right now I want to be in the now.

The rest of my day is not often spent in quiet. It is busy with a hundred things a pastor does. They are good things, but they are usually (rightly) oriented to the future or the past rather than the now. There is a balance between them.

Living in a balance is a—well, a balancing act. Both sides of a balance are important. Both quiet and action are important. They are not separate and they are not the same. But living in the balance by focusing first on one and then on the other is like trying to drive a car down the highway by looking first at one fender and then at the other. It doesn’t work that way.

Essential to a balance scale it is the pole on which the balance beam is hung. It reaches beyond both sides and puts both in context. It is when we can glimpse the third, more ultimate truth that lies beyond both sides of the balance that we find true harmony.

What is the balance between silence and action? True humanity.


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