Friday, January 18, 2008

Juggling Act

By Kristine John

It is a fact that I must juggle.
I juggle my time, my energy, my patience, and my sanity.
I juggle hugs and kisses, talks and screams, homework and Dr. appointments.
I juggle all of this, and so much more.

At times, I feel that I'm reaching a new level in the juggling act.
It's been approaching that point for some time now...but unfortunately, it just feels like I'm being thrust onto a larger stage before I've perfected my technique.
Unfortunately, it's not balls or other inanimate objects I am dealing with.
I think it would be much easier if that is what I was given to juggle with.

Instead, it's the lives and schedules, the health and well-being, the appointments and meetings that 9 of us must deal with.
Some weeks are a little more sane than others.
Other weeks we approach with every night full, some nights looming over us with more than one obligation in line.
My husband and I discuss who will cover which area, or in essence, who will catch what ball before it hits the ground and either rolls away or sits unnoticed for a time.

I was often told that I needed to enjoy the time when my family was young.
As a mother with 5 small children ages 7 and under, I found this advice hard to believe, and even harder to implement.
My most recurrent thought was that if only I could be given 10 minutes alone...I'd regain just a little sanity and be able to be not only more effective as a person...but also as a wife and mother.
There were quite a few balls to juggle, but I didn't have to reach too far to catch them, and it was rare that I actually felt that I had dropped the ball in fulfilling the obligations that my family set upon me.

Now that I've got 7 children, the oldest has turned 12, entered the Young Mens program, and officially started taking part in the after-school clubs that are offered to middle-schoolers.
I'm starting to see my arms aren't going to be able to reach as far or as effectively as they once did.
I've started relying on my son to juggle his own schedule and feel the consequences of dropping the ball on his own.
I simply cannot be there for him all of the time and cushion the blows that come when we make mistakes in communicating.
It hurts to see him struggle somewhat, but he knows that I love him...and that I don't want it to hurt him to learn responsibility.
It is however, a process that he must go through.

In the midst of this juggling act, I see, that the next few years will include many lessons on numerous different levels that in which I will need to focus on teaching 14 hands (which are smaller than my own) to juggle their own responsibilities.
Thank goodness I have an experienced partner who can help, not only with catching the balls that are thrown, but also with the instructing that must occur within the lives of our future jugglers.
Thank goodness for him, and for the Master, who holds the complete plan in His hands and helps us understand the importance of each ball we throw.

This juggling act, after all, with divine help, is one each of us can learn to perfect.

7 comments:

  1. This is profound! An eye opener. Now that I am a grandmother I observe my son and daughter-in-law doing their juggling act and wonder how I made it through - without the supportive partner. I have also found that I don't only have to juggle my own needs, and my children's, but now my elderly mother's and siblings' needs. I suppose it is good practice for the future when it isn't only our immediate family members, but worlds with no end.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

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  2. What a sweet and tender post, Kristine! Sometimes I have pictured myself running around trying to keep all the plates spinning on thin rods...You have to keep them at just the right speed or they lose balance and crash to the floor. Once in awhile I will wonder what it would be like to be able to just stop time all around me...like in one of those super hero movies...and give myself a chance to take a deep breath before starting everything back up again. Then I remember that is what prayer is for. Thanks for the insight!

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  3. Actually I drop a few every now and then and discover something really amazing, Heavenly Father catches them for me.

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  4. Please don't be disheartened, but for a creative woman there will be things to juggle as long as thought and breath last. The big difference is in what one juggles. My youngest son once gave me a set of three small bean bags packaged with instructions under the caption that went something like 'Juggling for the complete clutz'. I failed miserably.

    My valuable juggling was exhausting, but the directions were easy and the results quite gratifying, when my fifth baby came along about four months before the oldest reached seven. In addition to a couple of church jobs (both in music) I also had to juggle in a daily letter to my husband's APO New York address. The baby was five months old before Charles got back home from Iceland. His long distance juggling assistance was welcome, but in 1953 it was slow. Yet we all survived.

    I thought I'd developed the skills, but juggling five teenagers, a 4th grader and a preschooler during the year my husband served in Viet Nam took widely different skills, courage, faith and fortitude. I barely managed.

    When Charles got home I juggled AA, BA, and MA degrees, teaching, weddings, grandbabies, more weddsings, missions, great grandchildren, family history, funerals (which sometimes seem to throng), travel, community service, and trying to learn how to write.

    Today I only juggle emails, blogs, chapter meetings, critiquing, sudoku, scriptures, book club selections, my WIP, BIAMs, computer games, DVDs, edits, knitting, feeding the cat, a bit of shopping, trying to find a place for my junk, and throwing something in the microwave. As I say, the juggling keeps on going.

    Isn't it wonderful?

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  5. Wow! Terry I experienced the most thrilling feeling rush through me when I read your comment.

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  6. Kristine,

    What a beautiful, meaningful way you have of expressing important aspects of life. You definitely have a great gift, and it gives me joy to see you sharing it with us.

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  7. The juggling thing is so true but unlike Terri Wagner who feels she has help catching the plates she drops, mine smash into pieces, except for the really important ones. But Anna is right, I've got seven too, my baby is eight years old and I'm busier than ever. The juggling never stops.

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