The word “balance” keeps coming to mind as I review and reflect. Balance. I have to find balance in my own way of being in the world – the precarious point of stability managing work, school, community, home, family, self, and spirit. Since balancing those things is usually an impossible task, I tackle them one by one. Knock ’em down like linebackers on a blitz, bulldozing in just that order, instead of caring for my spirit, self, and family first. This all-or-nothing outlook also influences why I initially read The Liberating Mission of Jesus with confusion. Of course when you see a person in need, you should stop to help them without wasting an enormous amount of time on analysis.

And here is where I have a little “aha” moment, which subsequently makes me feel a little silly for not seeing it at first, it is sooooooo obvious. Remember the story about seeing puppies drowning in a stream? You see a drowning puppy (if you’re a cat person, you can change it to drowning kittens)…You see a drowning puppy and you wade in to save her. Just as you get back to shore, you see another puppy, so you go back to get that one. This happens again and again. You cannot leave your post, or puppies will drown, but if you do not venture up the path, you will not find the psychopath throwing puppies off a bridge. So you enlist help. If you are a good swimmer, you keep pulling the puppies out of the stream and you recruit someone from the community who is good at navigating the backwoods to go figure out what is happening. You cannot do both. I can’t do both. In fact, you and I can probably do one better than the other. And expanding the circle of people who are helping solve this puppy-drowning problem not only means a happier end for the puppies, but allows the people recruited to use their skills for an other.

Cooperation builds community bound by a common mission and allows the members of that community to do what they can, when they can, knowing that they do not have to solve the whole world’s problems (by themselves) at once.


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