Tuesday, August 9, 2011


One of my kids, last Christmas, received a kit for learning how to juggle. It has a book and different items for juggling. Scarfs, small cloth balls, that kind of thing. I started reading the book and trying to show the kids how to juggle. And here’s what we’ve learned so far:

Juggling is hard.

Juggling is a set of learned motions that have to be repeated over and over again. It’s the routine that makes it work. The routine of the motions and the routine of the things you’re trying to juggle with. You get used to that thing, the shape, the feel, which is what makes it work. This is why it’s so amazing to see someone juggling different items with different shapes and weights. Sometimes you see a pro juggler juggling a bowling pin with a cup and some other odd weight thing, and it’s pretty impressive because we all seem to know that the imbalance is what makes it tough.

I’ve found that I’m not very good at juggling. I work hard at it, but it doesn't come naturally to me. Which is no surprise. I’m simply not good at it. Literally and figuratively. At least, not with the amount of things I’m constantly trying to juggle. Too many things, too many shapes, too many weights. People toss things up in the air with the full expectation that I will somehow just take it into my loop. And when I start dropping things I can feel pretty guilty. It’s difficult to juggle all of the things life throws at us. But juggling is necessary if we're going to live life.

When I see people who are good at juggling, it’s often true that they’re good at it because they juggle the right things. They’re selective. Balanced. They know the feel of what they’re keeping up in the air. They have the motions down pat. And it impresses me. But I can’t seem to narrow things down like that. It’s a weakness. There’s so much that needs to be done and it’s hard to be at peace when things are incomplete.

Sometimes you’ll see two people juggling together. It’s really amazing. One time I saw three or four jugglers all together. They can keep so much up in the air. It’s such a clear image of teamwork. There’s so much skill in passing things off from one person to another. But most people never think of stepping in like that. They look at you, juggling your heart out, with an empty expression and basically say, “Sorry. I don’t juggle. I just don’t. But I like watching you do it!”

Juggling really is hard. And it can be a lonely business.

Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2011

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