Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tension

Lately, I've been loving the word "tension". In the past I viewed this word as a negative connotation, more often associated with a tension headache, or the tension of the day. Lately, I've been paying more attention to the word with its 3c. definition: "a balance maintained in an artistic work between opposing forces or elements".

I sometimes feel this tension while taking a shower. I guess I could feel the negative tension of it all: usually I am rushing, baby is crying at the shower door, wanting me to come out, or else he wants to get out of the bathroom. I tell you, it's not a relaxing thing by any means.

Sometimes when I am outside with the children, watching them play, I will bring a book. I catch snippets of inspiration, but then, of course, I am interuppted. The tension. The opposing forces of my mind: indulge in complete free time doing what I want, without interupptions; completely giving myself over to all the nuances of my day; or finding that balance, that tension. I'm excited about the word.

Maybe this life is meant to be in a perpetual balance, a tip-toeing across the trapeze line, never completely safe, never completely in a state of balance, but sometimes falling, yet held up by His loving power, His loving grace. There are so many gray lines in this life.

To find artistic meaning in my life, as a mother, and in general, I must realize that there is a balance. I can never get one thing completely "done". There will be unfinished business in my children's lives, in my life, so it may seem. But I am held up with a Force that is higher than me, sustaining me, getting what needs to be done, done.


A quote from Wendell Berry:

"The conflicts of life and work, like those of rest and work, would ideally be resolved in balance: enough of each. In practice, however, they probably can be resolved (if that is the word) only in tension, in a principled unwillingness to let go of either, or to sacrifice either to the other. But it is a necessary tension, the grief in it both inescapable and necessary. One would like, one longs in fact, to be a perfect family man and a perfect workman. And one suffers from the inevitable conflicts. But whatever one does, one is not going to be perfect at either, and it is better to suffer the imperfection of both than to gamble the total failure of one against an illusory hope of perfection in the other. The real values of art and life are perhaps best defined and felt in the tension between them."

bt: Charity

Her post, related: Tension

11 comments:

Joel and Jaime said...

What a fresh and encouraging way to look at that word! I like that you are regarding your life as a type of 'artistic work.' It kind of makes the mundane things a little more enjoyable, doesn't it?

Betty said...

Andrea,
What a great description of a mother's life! For some reason in the back of my mind there is a preconceived notion that this "tension" isn't normal. I've been fighting against it, complaining about it, but not accepting it. Instead I act like it's abnormal and I get frustrated at my children for all the interruptions.

I am praying to be able to embrace the interruptions realizing they comes from His hand. Sometimes the interruptions are His agenda.

Keep thinking and blogging, I'm on the journey with you.

Grace & Peace,
Betty

e-Mom said...

This is a poignant quote: To find artistic meaning in my life, as a mother, and in general, I must realize that there is a balance. I can never get one thing completely "done". There will be unfinished business in my children's lives, in my life, so it may seem. But I am held up with a Force that is higher than me, sustaining me, getting what needs to be done, done. Well said!

Mindy said...

good thoughts, any suggestions on how to keep that tension from building up in your neck? lol. I am really feeling that right now...

Elise said...

A Mama's life - what a work of art! Especially yours. :)

I've noticed you using the word "tension" in one or two of your posts - my favorite was "A healthy tension, to be sure." I love it when you talk all Old English like that. :)

Seriously, though, I'm loving what you're learning from it. More, more!

Kimmie said...

Hmm, very good post, I like it when the Holy Spirit gives you a fresh revelation of something you thought you had in your pocket. Thanks for giving me a fresh insight -enjoy your olive shoots. I love your blog title, Oh that I may flourish and bloom in excellence where God has me!

blessings;
Kimmie
mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted

L.L. Barkat said...

Charity has a wonderful post called "Tension" on her writing blog. And I think she looks at similar ideas, albeit in relation to the writing life. It is funny that we have a negative view of the word... when maybe it is the existence of tension that spurs us on to growth. (Of course, a life dominated by negative tension probably just causes us to implode!)

Mrs. Pivec said...

Thought provoking post. I relate quite well to the tension you speak of. No matter what I'm doing, it often feels as if I ought to be doing "something else". It takes great practice to remain in the moment doing what I am doing and not feel pulled in another direction. I'm glad to know I'm not alone in this! :)

Bloggin' with a basket o' clothes at my side said...

Love your blog! I always like reading such thought provoking entries.

Keep in touch.

-- Leslie

Beverly said...

I enjoyed this post. It is so intriguing to see the different shades of meaning of one word! Your post really provoked me to think about tension in a new way. How perfectly this describes motherhood ... and how rightly you view this tension as a positive thing. I love how you spoke of our Heavenly Father as our sustenance -- that Force that balances us. This is beautiful -- I think I'll read it again! :-)

Kendra said...

Well, you hit the nail on the head with this one. I now see why I'm constantly frustrated - it's that darned tension! I suppose that my only counter-option is creativity. For example, when I want to write and my toddler just wants to sit on my lap and bang on the keyboard, maybe I could just give him an old keyboard to bang on next to me.

Frustration or creativity...I believe we know which one most glorifies Him.

Thank you, Andrea.