Circus Life Lessons – Part 3

Circus = Life = Magic

(The third, and final, part in a series of some life lessons learned at the circus. You can read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.)

When Things Don’t Go As Planned

At the end of the MC’s act with the volunteer children, he sent three of them back to sit with their parents again. He kept one boy, the youngest one, on stage with him. During the “magic” act the children had just participated in, a specific card was supposed to materialize. But in all the kerfluffle of kids running around, confused by the instructions, and probably a little stage-dazed, the MC plucked a different card from the deck, and the audience pretended with him that that’s how it was supposed to happen.

So here’s the last volunteer kid on stage. “Peanut,” the baby “elephant,” (a masterful display of puppetry) comes on stage and shows the MC that something is stuck on the bottom of his hoof. The MC scrapes a card off the hoof, and of course it’s the card that was supposed to have appeared the first time around. To huge rounds of applause, the MC hands the card to the young boy, who is still about five seconds behind what is happening.

Life Is Like a Circus – Crazy and Magic

The tone switched from raucous laughter to a sweet tone as the MC says to the boy, “I want you to put this under your pillow tonight before you go to bed. Then when you go to sleep, remember the fun you had tonight at the circus. Remember how it felt like magic. And tomorrow when you wake up, you can have as good a day as you had at the circus tonight. And every day after that for the rest of your life can feel like magic, because life is kind of like a circus. It’s full of crazy moments, and fun, and even magic….if you let it.”

Life is like a circus. Sometimes we feel a little dazed and confused at the activity around us, struggling to comprehend everything that’s happening. Other times it seems like a little sleight of hand has been performed and everyone else was in on the joke but us. And on those really awesome days, everything just clicks and goes as smoothly as you could hope for. On those days you feel like something magical has just happened.

Joy Is All Around Us

There is joy to be had all around us…if we but look for it. The fall happened so that we could learn to distinguish between opposites – good and bad, wickedness and holiness, misery and happiness. (See 2 Nephi 2:11.) And while we learn the difference between all those pendulum swings of emotions and what life brings, somewhere in all that madness, we have the opportunity to choose joy (see 2 Nephi 2:25).

“Life is filled with detours and dead ends, trials and challenges of every kind. Each of us has likely had times when distress, anguish, and despair almost consumed us. Yet we are here to have joy? Yes! The answer is a resounding yes! … the joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.” (Russell M. Nelson, “Joy and Spiritual Survival,” October 2016, emphasis added.)

Eyes Focused Upward

When your eyes are focused upward, on the Savior and our Father, we can more easily “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and …run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).

If life can be compared to a race, or something with a finish line to cross, then we have only to look to Jesus who has already shown us the way, who performed the atonement so that we might cross that finish line in glory. “…Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2, emphasis added.)

If Jesus, who bore unimaginable and unfathomable pain and agony in the Garden for you and for me, can perceive that experience as “joy,” I can certainly look for the magic around me and choose happiness. That does not negate the knowledge that there will be horrible burdens and grief and pain of our own to bear, because of course there will be. But with our eyes focused on Him instead of our own circumstances, we open the door to have those things “swallowed up in the joy of Christ” (see Alma 31:38).

“Every day that you and I choose to live celestial laws, every day that we keep our covenants and help others to do the same, joy will be ours.” (“Joy and Spiritual Survival.“)

Where are your eyes focused? What are you doing to make life a little more magical and filled with joy today?

Laura will be the first to tell you she’s not perfect. That’s why she loves the restored gospel, and loves the atonement.

About the Author:

Laura will be the first to tell you she’s not perfect. That’s why she loves the restored gospel, and loves the atonement.