Keep Those Plates A Spinnin’
I awoke moments ago from a
short nap (doctor’s, friend’s, and husband’s orders), thinking I should make
this blog about surviving shingles by Susan Salluce. Has a comedic,
rolling-off-the-tongue sound, yes? But I trust that this dark time in my life
will all pass like my obsession with headbands that matched my mini-skirts in
There’s a lot of pain inside and out right now. Before I drifted off, I read a
personal message on Facebook from a friend whose son recently died by suicide.
America, perhaps the world, has forgotten that thousands remain homeless in
Sendai, Japan from the tsunami/earthquake. I’m reminded every time I read my
friend Marsha’s blog and her selfless devotion at serving this population who
are now with nothing. Someone else told me that her daughter has been bullied;
so much so that her daughter feels suicidal. There’s so much pain “out
there.” There’s so much pain “in here.”
I’m a feeler. I always have been. When my parents would get a raging case of
the crazies and ship me off to my grandparents, my grandmother would fold me
into her safe, cozy lap, stroke my head, and tell me, “It’s okay, baby.
God is in control.” Her words echo inside me still today. Oh, but what I
wouldn’t give to feel her rub my head just one more time. (Sorry, Lisa…I
can’t help it; I always make you cry.) Feeling the pain of others TOO much is
ultimately what led me to quit my job as a therapist. Compassion Fatigue is a
fancy word for it.
All that angst fuels my writing, though, so that is the upside of “all
that.” I wrote my first novel, Out of Breath, in less than a year.
Let me clarify…I wrote the first draft in less than a year 🙂 I wrote a short
story, Knew He’d Be Next, as though a fever had consumed me, when I
learned of another suicide and a friend of mine asked, “How are your
children with all of this?”
“They’re fine,” I replied.
The silence on the other end was deafening. My friend added, “Your
children have lived through way too many of these. Do they know that?”
I dropped the phone and asked them how they were. Their response led me to
write that short story through the voice of a sixteen year old girl. My daughter
said that it was as if I climbed inside her head. She wasn’t so fine, I guess.
They’ve lived through a lot. They too, are feelers. They are amazing and
So what does this have to do with plates? Every once in a while, someone will
ask me, “Don’t you get angry with God about all this?” or “How
can a loving God let such a thing happen,” referring to the death of a kid
whose life was just taking off or 100,000 people in a city whose homes were
swept away without warning.
I don’t claim to be a theologian. My pastors read this blog, so I apologize for
my attempt at explaining what I understand about God, but here’s what comes to
mind: Plate Spinning. I know…I’ll explain.
Plate spinning…you know, whether you’ve seen it on America’s Got Talent (i.e.
you are under 40) or on The Ed Sullivan Show (you are over 40), where a person
spins several plates on a series of poles and has to keep them spinning or
they’ll come crashing down.
I like to think that all of us on earth are those spinning plates. We’re
humming along quite nicely and then something happens: shingles, crazy
thoughts, bullying, a spouse cheats, an agent rejects you, you don’t get
invited to the party, and suddenly you get all wobbly. God didn’t make you get
all wobbly; life happens. That is how it is! &$%@ happens, in other words.
But here’s the beautiful thing, and even when I think about it, I get weepy:
God sends the artist, the plate spinner, to come and spin you so that you don’t
come crashing down to earth. Oh, and I am so blessed. I have been sent so many
plate spinners. More than I could ever have imagined. Just when I was so wobbly
that I could see my plate turning into great shards of ceramic, there was a
phone call, a meal delivered, an email, a Facebook message, a hug, and on, and
on, and on…and you know what, I’m still wobbly but my plate keeps spinning.
This is why my faith does not die in adversity. I have also felt energized to
write. I encourage you, regardless of your belief system, to identify your
plate spinners, and give them a thank you. It all spins back around.