It's a science-y kind of word. You may remember it from elementary school, using a triangle shaped wooden block, balancing a tongue depressor or something of that shape on it and then seeing if you could balance square blocks on either end... or something like that...
I actually have zero memory of doing any such thing, but all the internet images suggest that was the experiment. If I look way deep back into my brain, I might be able to find a text book image or worksheet lurking in the shadows but generally, if it was science, math, social studies... or school related in general, I wasn't really paying attention.
And yet, this image is coming to me in waves at the moment. This specific balancing act is one that is resonating with both Dave and I as we have been chatting over the last few weeks.
To say that there is some stability in our lives is correct. However, this stability is still very fragile and should effort or resistance (more science-y words) change ever so slightly... well...we all know what happens to the tongue depressor.
So I've been putting in some time with this image and idea and working to understand another new reality for our family.
Over the past few years, there's been a lot of sitting. Sitting with grief, sitting with sadness, sitting with hard, sitting with just about every emotion that came through the door. Sitting and embracing it all, sitting and understanding it's purpose.
So after a lot of time being still and quiet, in a state of ponderous curiosity, I suddenly find myself in a space of needing to learn to dance again.
At this time, the dance is tenuous so as not to upset the precarious balance on the fulcrum. Slow moving parts as we each learn how to stretch ourselves after finding comfort in the fetal position for so long. What does it mean to stretch our arms above our heads and gently walk on shaky legs? How do we support each other as we take turns crawling to the end of the balance beam to see what might be waiting beyond it's wooden horizon?
This territory feels new and un-charted. For so long we've been curled up together in the middle of a very shaky space, not able to really comprehend what lies beyond our boundaries.
But as my thoughts linger on this image; one family huddled together on a square piece of plywood, resting on the sharp point of a pyramid, I zoom out a little.
And there, below my plywood are the faces of friends and family and even some strangers. And they are holding my plywood steady. Their backs are resting against the underside of our platform, their arms are raised high, palms pressed against a heavy load. And some are smiling. Some are praying. Some are simply standing quietly.
And all are supporting.
So, as my family stretches and moves and our platform shakes, so many are sacrificing to keep it steady. To keep us steady.
And I imagine, zooming out again, that there are so many platforms resting on pyramid fulcrums. So many. More than the eye can see. Each bearing a human. Or two, or three or many.
And below each platform is a group of people. Stabilizing, loving, supporting the precious cargo on top.
And the platforms are all moving. Not one is ever still. All the people adjusting, making space for whatever may come.
And then, I notice that some people are able to move off of their platforms. They are strong in that moment, moving towards the underside of a different platform, releasing someone there from carrying the heavy load.
And thus, the dance swirls arounds us. Each person weaving from their shaky platform to support another one and back to their own, beginning a new phase of sitting and learning and listening.
For movement to cease would mean death. Stability is not the absence of movement, but the wonder of the dance. The joining of hands and hearts in life's most precarious places.
It is on the dance floor that we can understand the goodness of humanity. Amidst sweat and blisters and achy muscles, we find freedom in the spinning, joy in the laughter and safety in the clasping of hands.
And you know that on the dance floor, everyone has a space to try something new. To stretch their wings and shake the dust off their shoes. And you know just as surely, that the fools on the dance floor are heroes in their own right. Being bold, being brave (...and, ok, maybe slightly drunk...) and giving it their all in the freedom they've found.
And the freedom comes from knowing that the platform you dance upon, is held up by flesh and blood humans who give up their freedom to provide you space to learn how to walk again.
Stability is not the absence of movement, but the wonder of the dance. Your floor is ready.