This month my Dad turns 100 years young. And I say “young” because he has reached this age looking and acting like he is in his 70’s. The photo of him above this post was taken last year at his 99th birthday celebration. This year, I am busily planning with my family and his friends the details of a huge party in his honor for his 100th. The excitement is growing because he is such an inspiration to everyone who knows him.
At the same time, I am taking steps, sometimes leaps of faith, to grow my work as a spiritual healer, teacher, and author and reach more people. Growth requires planning of a different sort – also stretching into foreign territory and learning skills to navigate these unknown places. Yet I know this soul purpose work is a priority for me.
Then there are my adult children and my three young grandchildren. Spending time with them amidst their busy schedules and mine takes planning, too. And yet, this is precious time and without the planning, time could just speed by without the opportunity to share the hugs, kisses, and stories that connect us.
This week Dad and I visited my son to help take care of his 18 month old daughter while her mother was away on a work trip. This meant that I was gifted some quality time with Dad, my son, and my granddaughter. Although I had to put some work tasks on hold, it gave me time to appreciate some balance in my life and evaluate my priorities.
I allowed myself to just relax and enjoy my granddaughter, playing in the playground, reading books, letting her turn pages herself and seeing her light up as she recognized some images and could describe them in her toddler speak – “Hot, Hot” as she points to a fire in a fireplace. “Woosh, woosh” when she sees a fish in a lake.
When my kids were little, I found it hard to just sit on the floor and play with them. I had dishes to clean and food to cook. I worked hard each day to provide for them and then at night to take care of them. Even now, I find it hard to find time to play. And play is important for balance in our life. Work has its place, but play and fun do, too.
As I watched my granddaughter try to balance herself on the logs on the perimeter of the playground, I thought – isn’t that what is important for all of us to do? To balance all of our priorities – work, family, vocation, and play. We can answer our calling and yet take time to enjoy our life, connect and grow the love that is family. I may lose my balance at times, just like my granddaughter did at the playground. When I do, I intend to follow her lead, pick myself up with a smile and find that balance point again.