Monday, August 6, 2007

Juggling

Even though I've never actually been to a circus, I've always been impressed with the talents of circus performers.

When I was about 8 or 9 years old, my brother and I bought crutches at the local thrift store so that we could modify them into stilts and walk on them. We'd take turns pulling ourselves up to the top of the clothesline T, then the other one would prop the crutches/stilts under our feet so that we could walk across the yard. We eventually became pretty good stilt walkers.

Another time, my mom picked up a unicycle somewhere thinking one of us would really get a kick out of learning to ride it. The unicycle became mine, and I learned after much trial and error (and mom yelling "get away from the car!") to ride it just fine.

I tried to learn how to juggle, but I could just never get the hang of it. I almost got it, I'd think I was just about "there" and I'd drop the ball (or orange, or whatever it was I was using at the time). Juggling was much harder than stilt walking or unicycle riding, and after a lot frustration I just gave up trying. It was too much work and I couldn't do it.

Whoever first said that life is like a juggling act, probably greatly impressed all those that heard it. To be a successful juggler, you have to be very sharp to keep all three balls going at the same momentum. If you become unbalanced with even one, it throws everything else off and eventually you drop one, or two, or all three.

Life indeed is just like that. If you become unbalanced in one area, it throws the other areas off as well. Regaining that balance isn't alway so easy, either. To start out with however, you have to first find the balance - and that's no small feat. What you might have thought was "balance" 10 years ago you realize now that it could use some modifying & re-thinking. That's part of growing up and if you're a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, it's also part of maturing in Him and growing in grace. This being an ongoing process for the rest of your physical life, that center mark of balance will be fluctuating for as long as you live. Knowing that ahead of time makes it much easier to bear in mind that balancing things out will always be something to work on. In other words, you can count on the fact that things will change and you have to be ready for it.

Life is like this from the smallest, most trivial things - the biggest most important things.

• Housework/home projects
• Hobbies/leisure activities
• Community/church/school/work involvement
• Raising kids (a veritable circus unto itself)
• Marriage
• Emotional Reactions
• Spiritual Life/Discipline


Every area of life has an order of priority and has to be looked at through a balancing lense. What's the right thing to do, the best thing to say, the most important? Questions we have to consider (even if just briefly for the small things) to make sure we're living a balanced life, putting the important things first and the not so important things lower down the list, where they belong.

If we don't do this, like the juggler we drop the ball and only regret that we didn't give more thought to keeping the proper momentum going.

None of this is easy. It's all about growing and learning (usually from trial and error) and making sure that we're trying to keep things in perspective, in the right priority, in the right balance. In any given situation there might be the temptation to either overreact, or underreact. Sometimes it's really easy to overreact with emotion, especially in a stressful or very upsetting situation. It's also easy at times to be simply dismissive - because it's just easier to do that than to deal with the thing you need to deal with. Both reactions would be wrong, and even though we all know that, we all do one or the other, at times. It's much harder to assess a situation, think about it, pray about it, then respond with a reasoned & rational proposed solution. It's work to maintain the balance, and we don't always want to do the work required.

I thought about all of this yesterday, briefly, as we had a very full day in more ways than one. Not only did we have events planned, places to go, people to see and "things" to do, we also had family matters that needed to be discussed & resolved. This morning those family matters were added to by much more serious events, which just added to the thoughts of balance that I had from yesterday.

I was never good at juggling with real objects. It is only by the grace, wisdom and guidance of our most merciful God, that juggling in life and finding a good momentum, proper balance and perspective ever happens. It's very hard work sometimes, always accompanied by prayer and sometimes even accompanied by a many tears, but in the end, it's all worth it.