On a Christmas break, I visited my college boyfriend and his family in Oregon. He made sure I experienced ALL that his state had to offer. At a Duck’s basketball game, they had a special halftime competition that still makes me smile!
A juggling school brought out their students for a healthy competition. The scarf jugglers kicked things off and then other students joined, juggling balls, sticks and bowling pins. There was probably other juggling equipment, but all I remember is the final showdown. A teenage boy sweated to keep three bowling pins in the air while a maybe 6-year-old fiercely manned her scarves.
The competition started full court, and then they slowly decreased the parameters. Finally, the remaining jugglers were all in the center circle of the court. If you left the confines, you were out of the competition. Strategically, they boxed each other out. Sister with the scarves was no different. In her determined force she backed into Mr. Bowling Pins and pushed him out of her juggle jurisdiction. With her strategic force, she claimed her win.
Who’s to say the scarf juggler didn’t fairly annihilate the competition? I have thought (and laughed) about her victory for years.
She used the gifts and talents she had to claim a win! I am sure the other kids were bummed. I even wonder if the juggling school rethought their dynamics for future competitions. However, for the “now of her moment” she was victorious. It wouldn’t help for others to say “you only had light fabric and air to work with…” Hey, she worked with what she had and I could tell, even from the nosebleeds, her posture reflected an absolute victor.
How often do we look at others and think “no fair—they only had x, y, or z to juggle, while I’m here with awkward, heavy bowling pins trying to win the same game”?
It is really easy to claim these comparisons. In writing specifically, someone could be working for years and graduated up to juggling “chainsaws” in their skill but could be outed by a novice with a fresh and light manuscript of “scarves”. The timing, the skill, the material…all of it is circumstantial. Each participant is offering their absolute best, with 100% focus. No one can question the worth of a writing win—we can only graciously support. Unlike the halftime jugglers, there is room on the court for all of us. Boxing out is not a good strategy.
This metaphor doesn’t end with writing. The true struggle can be continuing to juggle the level of whatever work you know you are capable of while staying in the ring. It simply doesn’t matter what materials others have; the best work has to be THE focus. Living a life of success in whatever passions call to you IS a juggle.
How far have you come in your skills? What makes you “keep going” on life’s court with your own determined talent? I’d love to hear about it.
Your Brave Tutu (You’re brave, too-too!)
-Take courage in delight. Discover power in small moments.