Living in Central Ohio something most parents will do at least once in their children’s younger years is go to COSI. COSI stands for Center of Science and Industry. It’s one of those cool hands on museums for children (children of all ages)! When you walk into the main entry of COSI, you’re met by a huge pendulum. Well at least you used to be, admittedly I haven’t been there for years but it used to be there.
The pendulum was a super cool focal point when you first enter the facility. The pendulum from my understanding swings continually and never stops. This is due in large part to the length of the cable, weight and symmetry of the bob at the end of the cable, and an electromagnet near the top of the cable. The pendulum will swing back and forth continuously day and night. The really cool part is that when the earth rotates around its axis, the pendulum stays swinging in the same plane. So while it looks like the pendulum is rotating, really the earth is rotating under the pendulum.
At any rate, the pendulum is smooth in its transition back and forth. The cycle is unbroken. Forward, backward, forward, backward. The rhythm is soothing and somehow comforting in its stability and predictability.
Now I want you to try to imagine your life kind of like that pendulum. Imagine for a minute the cycles that your life goes through. There are cycles in our lives that repeat themselves over and over again. These cycles can be called a lot of different things and they apply to just about every scenario in which we find ourselves. There are work – rest cycles, or peace – chaos cycles, health – illness, energy – exhaustion cycles. Each of these will run back and forth on the pendulum of life.
The challenge for us as we swing through these cycles, aside from not getting sick from the back and forth, is to cherish each position along the swing of the pendulum. There are generally four things that happen along this pendulum. We go from rest to change to growth to great productivity. The more we fight this naturally swinging pendulum the shorter the gap between our work and our rest. The more we fight living out our calling as followers of Christ in our given stations in life, the more we’ll settle for mindless work that simply drains us.
The more we fight our times of rest, the less restful they become. The more we just do busy work because we feel we should be doing something, the less fulfilling it is and the more tired it makes us. The sweet spot in life is when we can rest while we’re working. We’ve narrowed the view of rest to the point that it becomes impossible to anything other than sit with our butt in the sand at the beach or curled up to a good book on a rainy day.
But when we truly find the pendulum balance in life, we quickly realize that rest can actually be found in doing the work we were called to do. We can work through our rest and rest in our work. There will be times when we need to pull away and rest and times when we need to sink ourselves into a task to accomplish it. But the majority of the time we can maintain a perfect swing through life finding rest in the purposeful work we’ve been created to do.
So cherish the swing. Be like a kid again and swing from rest to work making stops at change and growth along the way. Change is good. Growth is good but neither are easy. We need to be diligent in our working and intentional about our resting to get the most out of the change and growth portions of our swinging pendulum.
Enjoy swinging my friends. It’s the only way to live.