Rambling Thoughts About Stability
Can stability ever truly be achieved? Can it be guaranteed?
Structurally speaking I understand the necessity of stability. Having been raised by parents in the lumber business, watching wide eyed, and sometimes assisting, as my Dad fiddled away at ongoing projects including house additions, and later working a few of my teen years at the hardware store, I can’t refute that without stability a structure won’t stand (or at least not accurately or for very long).
Spiritually speaking I understand the necessity of stability. Without a solid base a building crashes, and so too does our faith if not constructed durably and with great care. We hear about firm foundations in Matthew 7:24–27
24"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Emotionally speaking I understand the necessity of stability. I’m sure that we all know that a “safe, secure and loving home, as well as a school which is consistent and nurturing, makes a big difference for our looked after children” (Debbie Barnes, Director of Children’s Services). Even when we moved houses and cities every year, and even though it seemed we raised ourselves with our frequently absent, workaholic parents, we still sensed a form of stability in our family. We had regular meals, our goals and dreams were encouraged, arms overflowed with hugs, we always felt heard.
Even if we haven’t been blessed with stable foundations we can inject some into our own realities. Stephen Guise explains in his article entitled “3 Keys to Emotional Stability” that we need to adjust our perspective, check our expectations, and create an action plan.
How to Make Your Life More Stable. Rather than running away from your problems, learn to make your own happiness, right where you are. People think stability is boring, but in fact, it’s instability that is boring. No great art was made by a person who can’t pay rent. Penelope Trunk
But can Stability ever truly be achieved? Guaranteed? I can rigidly construct a building that meets every code and yet can it not be left in demolished heaps when a tornado sweeps through? I can rigidly construct a faith that uplifts and praises the Lord and yet can it not be shattered into hopeless puzzle pieces when cancer devours my body? I can rigidly construct a family, carefully nurturing and embodying love, and yet can it not chasm and crack, cleaving us into separate, lonely existences?
I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive for stability. I’m definitely not claiming it is an unnecessary, wasted effort. I’m simply saying we can’t rely on it. We can’t guarantee that stability, no matter how much effort and work we have put into firming it up, will be an absolute.
And, to be even more of a Devils’ Advocate, aren’t there advantages to defying stability when we embrace change? Stability may be “synonymous with security and belonging” and yet life is not simple and unchanging and therefore we “need to be capable of facing all of the restless tides of life” (exploringyourmind.com). Change can be invigorating, can’t it?
Rambling thoughts as I squat on a wobbly chair: Can stability ever truly be achieved? Can it be guaranteed? Am I only able to pose these questions because I’m in a stable space in a fairly stable life?