Glass and rubber balls

I read this quote a long time ago, stumbled across it a few months ago and again today.  It really hit home because I have been dropping a few glass balls of late, that I thought were still rubber.

In life, there are rubber balls and glass balls and you are always juggling. Your family is glass, so you can’t drop them. Many of your work projects are rubber balls — the assignment will still be there tomorrow and you need to plan in advance. And sometimes a work project becomes a glass ball, and you have to let your family know you need to put them down for a day or three. Because they know they are ‘glass’ to you, they are more likely to understand and respect that you have a glass project this week. (as told to Julie Kantor)

I’m writing this blog when I should be paying attention to my assignment due in two days time – glass ball anyone?  But this is nagging at me so I will let it out and hopefully I can get on with picking up pieces and sorting out that particular ball.

Things have not been easy of late.  My whole sentiment to live a positive, thankful 2016 has hit a major roadblock.  It feels like a repeat of 2013, 2014 & 2015 with a few more bells on and I am not sure I have the stamina for this.  Oh!, it’s not a pity party!  I’m just being honest.

I’m watching someone I love disappear into a spiral I can’t help them out of and it’s leaving me feeling lost and frustrated.  I have spent most of my life rescuing people from something or the other.  Now I can’t.  I literally can’t.  You see, when someone disappears into their own minds because of depression or anxiety or some other mental illness, there is absolutely nothing you can do.  Except watch.

I’ve been there myself.  I’ve taken the medication, done the therapy and I know that until something changes inside nothing changes.  Nothing anyone on the outside says or does helps in the slightest because it has to come from inside.

How does this relate to glass and rubber balls?  This particular relationship was always a glass ball – it’s that important.  I have treated it a little like a rubber one though.  The last falling out we had meant that I stepped back and have stopped some of the actions I would normally do.  I can see the result clearly.  There is a great amount of insecurity and unhappiness.  It’s affecting us both deeply.

Another glass ball I have neglected is another family member – but if I get this one wrong I will shatter the person forever.  There is no turning back from the damage I could do.  I know though that I need to handle this ball – I just do not know how – I am wishing for a rubber cover.

But I’ve dropped a few balls of late ~ studies, lessons on the motorbike, handwritten diary, craft, bicycle, exercise … the list seems endless.  The item that I haven’t listed that is for me the hardest is the fact that I am dropping all my relationship balls.  I am not in contact with people – not even the ones I see every day.  I am treating them like rubber when in reality they are glass.

However, let me make something clear.  I am well aware that this is a choice.  I am choosing to neglect these balls in favour of other things which are trivial and time consuming and inevitably time wasting – but it is my choice.  Changing that choice needs to come from within.  Somehow.

But back to balls – glass ones in particular.  I am looking at them knowing that two of the balls, probably three … no definitely three … need work and I just do not know where I am going to find the internal resources I need to do that.  # One I cannot help at all, # Two is extremely fragile and I need to tread exceptionally carefully and # Three barely registers that I am alive.  I need to practice some kintsugi on these relationships to bring out the best in them without losing what already makes them so unique.

Somewhere in all of that I need to find me too.  I need to change what I think is glass back to rubber and what is rubber back to glass.  I need to be honest about what I can and can’t do.  I need to face the fact that I cannot save everyone, I can only love them.

It’s that last sentence that bites the most.


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