The See-Saw of Life / by Aimee Enlow


I remember as a child, how much fun it was to go to the park with my friends. Swings. Slides. Monkey bars. And my favorite, the see-saw. I think these contraptions have been outlawed from parks because of their danger to young children. I think the caution is over-rated. There are some amazing life lessons that can be learned on a see-saw.

In case you’re not sure, a see-saw is a real-life example of a scientific concept we learned in physics class. According to the internet, it is a “rigid arm (like a board or pole), that hinges on a pivot point called a fulcrum”. In layman’s terms, it’s a long board with handles sitting on a big triangle. Two kids get on, one on each end, hang onto the handles and take turns pushing each other into the air.

So, what does this little trip down memory lane have to do with me, you may be wondering? Life is like a see-saw. Maybe not the stuff of “forest-gumpion-wisdom” but at least a good analogy. I’m a firm believer that all of life is balancing act. There is a center point that controls the activity on each end of the board. It is a scientific principle that applies to where we live.

You must be centered in order to remain balanced. The fulcrum pivot-point supports the board to let it move freely and effortlessly. What is your center? What is it that you can count on to provide the support you need for balance? Maybe you have friends or family that keep you centered. Maybe it’s your faith that provides that centered support for life’s ups and downs. And to that end …

What goes up, must come down. The board of your life is going to move. Sometimes you’re up. Up in the air. Legs dangling beneath you with the ground unknown. But up in the air you find excitement and freedom. You are at eye level with the birds and tree-tops. But for every up, there is a down. Feet on the ground. Sometimes stable. Sometimes stuck. But grounded.

You can’t go it alone. No one can ride a see-saw as a single. You must have a partner for it to work. The lesson? The best way to manage the ups-and-downs of life is to do it in community. Who encourages you when you’re down? Who provides you the momentum you need to rise above and soar? Who is it that gives you a stable ride when you need to leave the clouds and return to the ground. You need community. And you need a community you can trust. Who trusts you.

Nothing is forever. Whether you find yourself soaring or standing, things will change. Whether you’re panicked in the clouds, or planted securely on the ground, things will change.

Balance. Remember the principle of the see-saw. Find your center. Weather the ups and downs. Surround yourself in community. Hang on, because what comes up, must come down.

Just remember to enjoy the ride!