by Gill Sotu
If my recent birthday party was a popular, major, sporting event, let’s say….cricket. And said sporting event had a highlight play of the game, I would definitely spotlight the moment I witnessed four African American fathers, all of them making living as being creatives, freely sharing the ups and downs of finding “The Balance.” Oh, “The Balance” is a tricky game we all play ladies and gentlemen, but I feel it gets particularly difficult when you make your living sharing to the world, through your art, all the feelings that come up for you. So you have to deal with them constantly. Stupid feelings.
Imagine that you are stuck in the middle of an ocean on a life raft with your family. So far, your heroic deeds have gotten you and your loved ones off the boat just in time. Your children are scared and crying and just need some good TLC to calm them down, but you need to come up with a way to get all of you to safety. Your wife, as wonderful as she is, as strong as she is, has one big heart, but only two hands. Did I mention she was pregnant? This was supposed to be a babymoon trip. So yes, she needs your support too. Every time you row towards shore, hoping you are going in the right direction, the children begin their heartbreaking wailing. They are petrified of what lies beneath the dark cold ocean. Every time you stop to comfort and calm them, they remind you of their hunger, they are tired of eating the same thing, one wants to go swimming and won’t take no for an answer. Your amazing wife is taking a much deserved nap, and you realize, in fulfilling your important role as daddy-husband, you haven’t moved anywhere for days.
This is the game of “The Balance”. Everyone plays it in their own way, and the rules seem to constantly change. And what is also hard is that often, even when you are winning, it feels like you are still grossly behind. This is the part where faith comes in. This is the part where God comes in…
“ 36-40 Jesus said all this, and then went into hiding. All these God-signs he had given them and they still didn’t get it, still wouldn’t trust him. This proved that the prophet Isaiah was right: God, who believed what we preached? Who recognized God’s arm, outstretched and ready to act? First they wouldn’t believe, then they couldn’t—again, just as Isaiah said: Their eyes are blinded, their hearts are hardened,
So that they wouldn’t see with their eyes, and perceive with their hearts…
44-46 Jesus summed it all up when he cried out, “Whoever believes in me, believes not just in me but in the One who sent me. Whoever looks at me is looking, in fact, at the One who sent me. I am Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in me won’t have to stay any longer in the dark.” John 12:37-50 (The Message – MSG)
This is when you look at your children with all their fingers, toes, and mounds of curiosity. This is the when you watch your wife sleeping, perhaps with a bit of drool down one side, and hair a tangled mess, but still radiant. Everyone is safe, dry and fed. You are all together. You have survived the sea for this long. These are the God-signs that have been provided for you. Do not ignore them. Your family is the evidence that miracles exist. Trust that if God can do all this, that HE can pull you forward. HE will help you find “The Balance”, but HE must be a part of that equation. Put your faith to action and row when you can, rest and comfort your family when you need to. And most important, forgive yourself for feeling like you have fallen short. Your survival will not be pretty. But it is necessary. What you do not realize is that about a mile back, there is another family who has also survived, looking at you, hoping, you know the way to safety.