Journal 2005. Today I feel like I’m juggling too many balls—Ping-Pong balls!—and they’re flying in all directions at once. And so I gather them all, carefully place them in a four-sided tray, and hand them to Jesus. When I ask Him which ball He wants me to hold today, oddly He offers me a large glove, crystal-clear and sparkling like a diamond. I’m scared to take it, but when I do, I discover it is weightless, for it’s made of pure light. And He? He tucks it deep inside my heart so my hands are free, but its light spills from my pores for all to see—His light.
And what of all those Ping-Pong balls that I handed Him?
“No problem,” He says. And He begins to juggle the stars and the planets in a spectacular, brilliant light show.
“How does He keep from dropping them all?” I wonder. And then I see the strings attached. He’s bonded to each one—each star, each orb—and, yes, to each Ping-Pong ball with chords of love and ownership and responsibility, for each ball represents a person in my life.
Just carry one “ball” today, Karen.
A 2022 Update. I’ve lamented already this new year that I was juggling too many hats—which represent my current roles. As fast as I could remove one from my head, another replaced it in rapid succession. I didn’t choose for all these deadlines to occur at the same time. Another metaphor I see is running a race with hurdles. I just can’t seem to catch my breath before the next one is upon me. “Just breathe,” says Jesus, “and keep your eyes focused on Me.” At last, the rotating hats slow their pace, and the hurdles space themselves out, and I go into recovery mode. It’s time to read a book, do a jigsaw puzzle, or take a walk. This race won’t last forever, and I’m grateful for the energy and strength to keep going.
From my 2012 Journal. I think I have a skewed attitude toward time. My dad was extremely punctual—which was a little comical to watch in the context of a remote African village in the 50s where time was ordered around the seasons of harvest or full moons. Our lives growing up were regimented and predictable—breakfast and dinner at 6 o’clock sharp. Lunch at noon. Family devotions before breakfast and after dinner—without fail. Work hard in between. (I identified with the hymn, “Work for the Night Is Coming.”) And don’t get me started on the regimen of boarding school bells and sirens . . . !
But I loved it! I actually thrive on routine and schedules. There was a long season in my life when, no kidding, I planned and regimented every minute of my day. As a result, I was extremely efficient and productive. It did not leave room, however, for relationship-building. Marriage and children knocked me off that routine, and I slowly began to adapt to fluidity in my schedule. But I still don’t like wasting time.
We have a clock in every room of our house, and I even wear a timepiece on my wrist to make sure I keep to specified deadlines. I’m a task-oriented person. If I don’t have a running list of goals to accomplish, I feel at loose ends, unproductive, lazy . . . like I’m wasting time. Vacations for personal pleasure and decadence feel wasteful of . . . time.
How about the word “busy”? What does that mean? If someone calls me on the phone and asks, “Are you busy?” I never know how to answer that. I’m always doing something—even if it’s resting: I’m busy resting or reading or cleaning my house or praying with someone. I’m not sitting on the couch staring off into space, catatonic. A better question might be, “May I interrupt what you’re doing?”
So what does wasting time mean, exactly? Is use the opposite of waste? If I waste food, it means I don’t use it up. But what if I have an excessive amount of it? Do I share it? Freeze it? Or throw it in the garbage? How do I waste water? I suppose that depends on my region. If I live in an arid climate, the definition might be quite different if I lived in a rain forest. How about wasted opportunities? That’s a harder concept. Sometimes we’re limited by our resources or our emotional state or our internal drives.
When does “relaxing” morph into “wasting”? And where in all this discussion does balance come in?
Okay, I’m done with the rambling in my head. Anyone want to weigh in?