The Lesson of the Five Balls

Photo by bb_matt

Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls.
The balls are called work, family, health, friends and integrity.

And you’re keeping all of them in the air.
But one day, you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball.
If you drop it, it will bounce back.
The other four balls – family, health, friends, and integrity – are made of glass.
If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.
And once you truly understand the lesson of the five balls, you will have the beginnings of balance in your life.”
James Patterson, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas
I just finished reading this book – my book club’s pick this month. It was a pretty good read, a sad, touching story. But the best part was this thread that ran throughout the story about putting the important things in life first – finding the balance. It seemed like all the main characters figured this out in their early thirties and made the most of their lives.
I’ve always thought I knew this and lived this lesson fairly well, especially during the past few years. But the story made me recall a lot of years when Kennedy was just a boy, and I was working 15 – 20 hours a day and going to school nights and weekends and Keith was taking up all the slack being the parent and home-keeper and husband. Those are days, months, years I’ll never get back…times I didn’t give my own son or husband the same time and energy and attention that I gave my work as a teacher (and all those other kids in my life). I regret that very much now and hope the scuffs and nicks aren’t too deep. I am grateful that they are both still here on this earth so I can spend more time with them now.  Maybe our family bike ride out on Sanibel tomorrow will help polish the scuff marks a little.

What do you do to make sure you don’t drop one of those four precious glass balls?

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