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Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Shepherd's Heart: Spinning plates

Thursday, January 7, 2010

When I was a much younger person -- back in the day, as the kids would say -- I remember watching a show on television (back then we called them "variety" shows) that featured different acts such as circus acts, Russian dancers, Chinese gymnasts, and so on.

Every so often the featured act was a man who would place ordinary dinner plates on the tops of small poles (maybe even dowel rods or sticks) and spin them until they stayed afloat atop the sticks.

Invariably, by the time the poor fellow got all five plates spinning at the same time and the audience was showing their appreciation through thunderous applause, one or more of the plates would begin to wobble, threatening to fall off the stick. This would go on and on, with the artist becoming more and more frustrated and seemingly desperate, until he would -- one by one -- gather his plates and stack them one by one on the end of the table.

As we enter another new year and another new decade (my sixth) I notice more and more people who seem to be a lot like that man: Working hard to keep the plates spinning atop those little poles all the while knowing that if one plate falls, it could be catastrophic. One friend and co-worker recently described it this way: It's as if I have these large spheres up high on poles and they keep slipping downward and I just keep running from pole to pole pushing the spheres back up where they are supposed to be.

Thankfully, she realizes she is not alone in this craziness. She realizes that she's not the only one trying to maintain some sort of balance in a world that is terribly off kilter. More than that, deep inside she knows, ultimately, she is not in control of the spheres. When she decides to let go and to stop running here and there to keep things righted, God will step in and make things right.

Truth is, we all tend to get a little too caught up in controlling our lives; in keeping the plates spinning and the spheres suspended. We get a so busy trying to keep our proverbial heads above water that we take our eyes off the One who hung the stars in the sky and tells the wind when to blow and the sun when to shine.

I'm guessing that the One who created the universe can handle a few plates on poles.

What do you think?

BOB G. STEWART, Columnist
The Shepherd's Heart