At various times, having generally good hand-eye coordination, I have tried to juggle. I can do okay tossing two balls up in the air with just one hand, but if you toss in a third and tell me to also use my left hand to juggle all three, they will all come crashing to the ground in about 2 seconds (give or take a second). I have come to terms with the reality that I do not possess the elusive juggling gene. I’ve heard it is hereditary, so I’ll publicly apologize here to my two boys if they ever want to juggle.
There is a different kind of juggling that at various times we are all forced to use. Some of us do it better than others. Some of us thrive while performing this juggling act, and some of us collapse under the mental or emotional stress. Most of us cope and sort of limp along.
2020 has been the year of the juggling act for most of us from a societal perspective, and some of that has made us look inside and evaluate some things. First, it was the impeachment hearings (political partisan discourse abounded … and still does), then it was the coming novel coronavirus (some fearing, some brushing it off), then it was the shutdown (many lost jobs or had hours cut), and now it is the national conversation about race (a horrific murder in Minneapolis that was the impetus for national protests, some escalating to rioting and looting resulting in more bloodshed and property destruction).
All of this has taken place, and we’re not even halfway through the year. Perhaps just one of those events (and I’m sure I’m forgetting some) would be enough (and was enough) to throw some into confusion and despair. Stack them all back-to-back in a short period of time and you get the perfect storm of juggling.
What is really happening? Want to go with me to the protest? Really … toilet paper? What is the truth? Did President Trump really do that? Wow, it’s 3 p.m. already, I missed it, what did Gov. DeWine and Dr. Acton say today? Why did this protest turn violent? How are we going to survive with lost income? Should I wear a mask? What kind of person kneels on a neck for 9 minutes? The CDC said what? Why can’t we have rational dialogue on social media? Does anyone know where I can get hand sanitizer? The WHO said what? I need to learn more about the effects of racism, what should I read? What is the truth? Are some of our freedoms being taken away?
There are probably a thousand more questions that could be included, but I think we get the point. There is juggling happening, both mental and emotional. For some, it is very intense. For others, it’s relatively minor. However, we are all asking some of these questions.
I want to encourage us all to take a deep breath. Are there incredibly serious issues that we need to discuss, plan for, and act on? Are there serious issues of life and death, issues of justice, and issues of basic treatment of all image-bearers of God? The answer to those questions is a resounding yes. However, I’d like to caution us to not scroll endlessly through social media feeds or be fixated on every single news story that comes out without first grounding yourself. Most of us can’t handle this juggling act for very long.
Breathe (Psalm 46:10), pray for wisdom (Proverbs 2:6), discern the truth (Proverbs 1:5), seek counsel and guidance (Psalm 25:1-5), act (Ephesians 15-16). It is very easy in this information age, where fake news and fact-checking abounds, to experience information overload. We juggle and juggle and never really get anywhere, except confused and anxious.
Ground yourself in Christ. Know the truth. Pray for wisdom. Act. You’ll drop less balls while you juggle.
Dave Pacheco is pastor at Delaware Grace.