Most people have seen photographs of the dramatic arch formations that give Utah's Arches National Park ( www.nps.gov/arch )its name. But equally dramatic are the towering spires, pinnacles and balanced rocks, perched atop seemingly inadequate bases. I took this photo of one of the more recognizable formations---simply called "Balanced Rock", on my last visit to the national park. There is a wheel-chair accessible, 0.3 mile, loop trail around the base of Balanced Rock. This allows people in varying degrees of fitness, and physical condition, to participate in the "expedition" to explore this example of "balanced living" in nature.
This photograph shows one of the large arches, that attracts visitors because it is relatively close to the main, paved road that winds through the park. It is easier to appreciate the size and weight of this mass of rock, when one is standing directly under it, like the person shown in the photo. It is a very delicate balance of conditions that keep this arch from falling down, and smashing whatever is beneath it. Some of the conditions that determine the stability of an arch occur over centuries. Other conditions may occur suddenly. For example, in 1991, a slab of rock about 60 feet long, 11 feet wide, and four feet thick, fell from the underside of Landscape Arch. The result was that Landscape Arch now has an even thinner ribbon of rock suspended in the sky.
Every time I have visited Arches National Park, I have been with a group of people who all had the same goal---getting to experience the beauty of this area of the Southwest (our motor coach is shown in this photo). The group became like family---looking out for one another, pointing out particularly scenic vistas or wildlife, directing fellow travelers away from potential hazards, and other things that made the expedition more enjoyable.
I was reminded of this photograph of Balanced Rock at Arches National Park because the title of the 2011 Fall Session of FBC's First Place 4 Health class, is called "Balanced Living". We live in a time when it is increasingly difficult to achieve this elusive state, called "balanced living". There is so much talk in the news about achieving a "balanced budget" for the U.S. economy, and a "balanced budget" in our personal finances, that sometimes the process of "balanced living" to achieve a healthier lifestyle, gets put on the back burner, where we deny there is a problem, and "pretend" that all is well. But that is a false balance. There is a verse in the book of wisdom (Proverbs 11:1) that says "A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight." However, just like the weight of the massive arch towering over the person in the photo, the weight of the world often seems to tower over us, as we seek to achieve balance in our life. One of the great things about the First Place 4 Health classes, is the group setting. Just like being part of a group on the Arches National Park expedition made the experience more enjoyable and more successful, being a part of a First Place 4 Health group can make the expedition toward a healthier lifestyle more enjoyable and successful. And just like the expedition to Balance Rock provided for various levels of fitness and conditioning, so the First Place 4 Health classes provide for various levels of fitness and conditioning. If you would like to learn more about this upcoming "Balanced Living Expedition", plan on attending the Orientation/Registration meeting at First Baptist Church, 400 Club Boulevard, on Wednesday, August 31, at 5:45 pm. You can also learn more about the program in general, by clicking on their website, http://www.firstplace4health.com/. For details about the Mountain Home classes, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I hope you will join me on this "Balanced Living Expedition"!! Miles of