October 25. “A well-developed sense of humor is he pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.” (William A. Ward)
I have long had a fascination with tight rope walkers. When I was growing up in Cleveland, one of the Wallendas did a tight rope walk from one side to the other of the roof of the old Cleveland Stadium. Back then, in the 1970s, daredevils were quite the rage. Whether it was one of the Wallendas or Evel Kenievel making one of his jumps, there seemed to be one of them in the news regularly.
I was particularly interested in the tight rope walkers. I am extremely afraid of heights, so the idea of walking across any high bridge would make me fearful. Doing it THAT high, with only a steel cable beneath my feet was unimaginable to me.
One of the things I learned about the tight rope walkers was that the way they were able to survive and make the walk was that they had a long pole to help keep them balanced. They would hold the pole tightly, and it would steady them for the walk. Without it, the walk would be impossible. And, if they let go of the pole, even for a moment, they were doomed, as happened all too often.
Life, indeed, can often feel like walking a tight rope. The demands of our daily lives all seem to want to pull us down. Maintaining just the right balance between my work life, and my home life alone is hard enough. Add in all the demands in both places that want to pull me in various directions, and that wire beneath me can feel quite thin at times.
I have always been blessed with a sense of humor. At times it can be quite a biting sense of humor, but most of the time it can be disarming. I have a knack for seeing something that is a bit more light hearted, even in the most difficult of situations. I have the ability to break the tension in a meeting and get people laughing just a bit, which can often allow us to re-focus on the more serious business at hand, but with a refreshed attitude.
In my own life, I frequently turn to humor as a way to help me maintain my own balance as well. When I am feeling particularly stressed, I will look for something funny to distract me for a few moments. Whether it is a funny book, a quick trip to the Dilbert site, or relaxing with a sitcom or movie, I find a great release that comes from a bit of laughter.
This quote definitely rings true for me. I know that I cannot walk the tight rope of life without my sense of humor. Sometimes I will see someone who is so completely serious and unable to step back and laugh, and it makes me sad for them. The truth is that there is very little that happens in our lives that cannot be made a little better with the perspective of some tasteful humor.
Today my reflection is on keeping myself in perspective, and never taking myself too seriously. Today I am reflecting on how well I can and do use humor as my pole when walking that tight rope of life.