Saturday, March 6, 2010


Do you ever feel that life is just one big juggling act? I sure do. Like many of you, I find myself juggling family and friends, work and writing. Within each of the areas of our lives, there seems to be an endless number and variety of balls that we're trying to keep in the air at any given moment, on any particular day. When I began this blog, I intended to update it monthly. Somehow I dropped the month of February. 

A friend once suggested the importance of determining which of the balls we juggle each day are made of crystal and which are just plain rubber. If we drop a rubber ball, no harm is done. It bounces and rolls. We can retrieve it if we choose or let it roll into a corner or under the sofa and just leave it there for a while, for that day when we're taking stock, when we collect all the balls and reassess their value, their texture, their importance in our lives. But the crystal balls are different. The crystal balls shatter if dropped. A million tiny shards. Gathering those shards, a dangerous, impossible task. Reconstructing the ball, an unthinkable challenge. The crystal balls must never be dropped. They must be treated with gentle care and deep respect.  Polished and cherished. Freed of the mars of daily juggling.

Now, when life seems to be racing out of control on a blind collision course, I stomp on the brakes, slow down, stop. I gather my juggling balls, some from the corners where they've rolled, others from their boxes. Some of these boxes are made of simple cardboard, nothing more than deli food containers. Inconsequential, disposable. Others are finely crafted beauties of stained glass, pressed silver or fragrant cedar, each lined with deep, rich velvet of varying hues. I line up the juggling balls, both rubber and crystal, on the table in front of me. A row of balls. Another of boxes. And I begin another kind of juggling act. I examine each ball, assessing its weight and texture, its value in my life.

Some balls have always been, and will always remain, cherished crystal. These retain their precious boxes with velvet lining. Others are rubber, nothing more, a lifetime of rubber. But I usually find that some of the balls have mysteriously transformed, magically changed from rubber to crystal, and others from crystal to rubber through the passing months and years. I must recognize and respect these changes. Should I fail, I could carelessly drop a crystal ball, mistaken for simple rubber.

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