By Allison Gingras
Fr. John Bartunek shared this with me about prayer practices and the responsibilities of everyday life, “We never stop seeking balance in our life. You do not achieve a level of equilibrium and are good to go. No, it is more akin to walking a balance beam, which requires constant adjustments to remain on it.”
As a former (middle school) gymnast, the analogy resonated with me. It brought me back to a vivid (and slightly embarrassing) memory of the epic back handspring attempt of 1981. My “5 foot nothing” coach stood alongside the balance beam perhaps (yet, sweetly) overly confident in my abilities.
With abandon, I threw my body back and halfway through the flip, realized I was in big trouble. My hands found their target behind me on the beam, but the rest of me decided to exit — stage left. I landed smack dab on top of my poor, no longer confident, coach. To her credit, she managed to keep both of us from the ER and from losing our “gym cred.”
Clearly, a memorable moment not only to me but also for her because she recalled every humiliating detail when we bumped into each other at the local grocery store OVER 20 years later!
Although I had mastered the back handspring skill on the ground and low beam, the new altitude called for new adjustments. When I failed to make them; I fell. This readjustment and balancing act can be equally valid in my faith walk. I have mastered many of the skills that keep me close to and in spiritual balance with Christ, including daily prayer, Scriptural reading, Adoration, Sunday Mass, and frequent Confession. Yet, throw me a curve such as a morning of oversleeping, a hectic travel schedule, any sick human in my home, an unusually over-scheduled week — or all of the above; and I am quickly off-kilter.
To help me combat all those winds that seek to blow me off my spiritual course, I have learned to build prayer into my daily routine. Over time, I have learned to train myself to thank the Lord for a new day as I’m turning off my alarm clock. I say a Hail Mary while waiting for my coffee to trickle out from the Keurig. Ask blessings for my family with each piece of their clothes I fold or dish I wash. While running errands, I pray for friends as I drive by their homes, for the safety of first responders as I pass by the police and fire stations, and for wisdom for teachers and pastors when I go by schools and churches.
Fr. Bartunek’s insights into the spiritual life balancing act was very comforting. Knowing that even when I believe I’ve mastered the practice of my faith; there is always room for improvement and grace for that occasional fall.
What seemingly ordinary activity is actually a form of prayer for you?
About the Author:
Allison Gingras works for WINE: Women In the New Evangelization as WINE Steward tending the Virtual Vineyard including facilitating WINE book clubs and social media. Her ministry: ReconciledToYou.com. Allison authored The Gift of Invitation: 7 Ways Jesus Invites You into a Life of Grace, as well as contributed to Our Friend Faustina and Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, and is the host of A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras on BreadboxMedia.com.