There is a children’s musical entertainer named Tom Knight who visits the local libraries and summer concert series each year in our area. While his songs are, of course, aimed at children who are around the preschool age, sometimes the lyrics hit home for me.
One song, in particular, caught my attention when were listening to the CD in the car one day. When Knight sings the song The Juggler live he roams through the crowd of children while juggling a few balls, throwing them under his legs and high in the air as he walks and sings.
“Well the juggler is a strange one. He does his tricks for his own fun. And the people gather ’round him. To see the tricks that astound ’em.‘
“But when the juggler is in danger of losing all he has. Then the juggler gets it balanced. And he’s right back where he started.”
“So it’s faster and it’s funny. It’s hard to play for the money. But it’s easy with the patter. ‘Cuz it’s the jokes that matter. So the juggler is a dancer. He’s an actor with no answer. But it’s simple entertainment. And it’s worthy of the time spent. Here’s a good day, here’s a slow one. It’s hard to keep it goin’. It takes practice, but it’s fun too.
It’s easy just count one two three four five six.”
So why would a song about an entertainer throwing objects in the air and catching them again hit home for me, a simple, stay-at-home mom with only two children?
Because, I, this mother of “only” two children, see a double meaning in the lyrics. I relate to the juggler because I feel like I am the juggler. In fact, I think we all, parents or not, feel like we are a juggler, at one time or another, in our lives. We are all always juggling something in life – if not relationships then work if not work then home life, if not home life then general life “stuff,” for lack of a better word.
Many parents definitely feel like they are juggling about a hundred things all day long. We are juggling requests, tasks, whining children, work, cooking, laundry, and thoughts – almost losing our balance, but able to somehow get back on track.
Throughout the course of the day, I feel like my head is constantly spinning, with thoughts jumping from one subject to another. At the same time my 4-year old daughter wants me to play with her and her stuffed animals I need to cook dinner. At the same time I’m cooking dinner my son wants me to see something he has created on Minecraft, the dog needs to go out and the cat is sitting on the island giving me the evil eye because I’m not petting her.
So it’s faster and it’s funny. It’s hard to play for the money. But it’s easy with the patter. ‘Cuz it’s the jokes that matter. So the juggler is a dancer. He’s an actor with no answer. But it’s simple entertainment.
When dinner is done my daughter still wants me to play but there is writing I need to do for a freelance assignment and photos I forgot to edit for a client, keywords to plug in for stock photography, laundry to fold, dishes to wash, parents to call, friends to message and God to try to hear over it all.
Now it’s bedtime and the dog is terrorizing the cat again, I forgot to fold the laundry because I was distracted with writing a blog post, I never responded to the friend’s message, and the dishwasher is only half loaded.
And God? Well, I can’t even hear what He wants to say because I’ve thrown all the pieces of life in the air and I’m trying to juggle them all by myself.
But, if I would just let him, God would take each one – each worry about homeschooling, each stress about finances, each rushed and anxious feeling about all that needs to be done, and he’d take care of them and tell me that I no longer need to be The Juggler.
“Here’s a good day, here’s a slow one,” Tom Knight says. “It’s hard to keep it goin’. It takes practice, but it’s fun too. It’s easy. Just count one, two, three, four, five, six.”
Yes, the balancing is hard.
There will be bad days, then good days, fast ones and slow ones where we have to wait until we take the next step; those waiting days where we feel like we can’t throw even one more ball up amongst the others.
Some days it is hard to keep all the balls sailing, but even on the hard days there is joy, hope and a Heavenly Father who is reaching out to help us slow it all down and trade the balancing act for his steady hand.
“Then the juggler gets it balanced. And he’s right back where he started.”