My friend Ken asked me how I was doing, and I answered with the worn-out juggling metaphor. The last few weeks, I’ve been tossing so many balls I’m teetering, breathless. One miscue, and we’re sure to have a jangled collision. This works against my desire for simplicity, and I feel like a class-A hypocrite. Of course, that guilt becomes simply another ball I toss into the furious loop.
I explained to Ken my fear that I would drop one of my whirling balls and that those I love or those I’m responsible for would suffer. My family would not receive all they need from me. My church would endure a lackluster pastor. Maybe my coursework would pay the price. Or my writing would be dull and empty. So much at stake. So many possibilities for ruin. I must keep the blurring circle flawlessly spinning.
The phone sat silent for a moment. Then Ken, with a carefree voice, asked “Why don’t you just let a ball drop every now and then?”
Why don’t I just drop a ball? It’s easy when someone else says it. Why do I believe I’m so crucial to the universe that my misstep carries such drastic consequences? I do the best I can, which means I bumble my way most of the time. I have trouble keeping track of my keys most days, much less all the whizzing parts of my world. Juggling belongs in a circus anyway, where there’s laughter and popcorn and everyone expects someone to get a pie in the face and to be left with a big mess after the fat lady sings.
Last night, All Souls had a Healing Eucharist. When Miska prayed for me, she placed her hand on my heart and prayed that I’d know there is nothing to fear, that I’d know that – truly – nothing is at stake. Her prayer said, drop a ball if you need to, grace will pick it up.