Take a couple of steps forward. Stop. You can’t go any further. Back up then. Retreat a bit. Halt. You can’t go backwards either.
Ever since childhood, that kind of action has frustrated the heck out of me. My mother once told me a story as evidence that patience may not have been my strong point, even as an infant.
According to my parents, I walked when I was nine months old. Prior to making progress on my own two feet, I used a baby walker to get mobile.
Once while making my way in my walker around the eat-in area of my childhood home’s kitchen, my baby self somehow got hung up by a kitchen chair leg. Attempting to move forward got me nowhere. And when I tried to reverse, I got even more tangled.
After a few tries, I still had no success. So growling loudly in frustration, baby me shook the heck out of that darn walker until my mother came to my rescue.
Hmmm. Seems like not much has changed, except that my mother can’t rescue me any longer. It’s true that sometimes, even as an adult, I still feel frustrated like I was in that long-ago story. And frustration rears its ugly head when I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place.
I recently read a story about a young woman traveling alone via train in a foreign country. She started to feel a bit jittery because that area of the world was prone to violence. She ventured to the restroom, but while she was in this smelly cramped space, the lights went out. In absolute darkness, she grabbed the door handle and shoved the door as hard as she could in order to escape this panicked place in which she found herself.
But the door wouldn’t open! She felt trapped and feared someone was blocking it. She pounded on that door, but no one came to her aid. Turning to lean against the wall, she nearly fell out of her entrapment. The ‘wall’ was really the door. The ‘handle’ which she attempted to open the door with was really the empty towel rack on the wall.
In her frustration and panic over being plunged into darkness, she got turned around and confused. She thought she was caught between a rock and a hard place, but her way to escape was just at another angle.
I can identify so well with this story. I have often felt like I am trapped, literally between a rock and a hard place. Frustration floods me when that happens. I try to push myself out of this tight spot to no avail. Pressure and stress soon follow frustration. Sometimes even anger roars.
After dealing with this issue for quite some time, I’ve finally come to a solution. I’ve moaned, I’ve groaned. I’ve been depressed; I’ve been angry. I’ve prayed and contemplated. I’ve sought advice from my husband and family, and while they offer good suggestions, they can’t change circumstances for me.
I have to make the change myself and that takes time. Time for patience and time for waiting. And oh, yes…endurance. Waiting until the time is right. Waiting until my heart and mind are calm. Waiting until I can think clearly, weigh options, and then choose to make wise decisions to loosen the constrictions of my tight spot.
I’ve come to realize that when you’re between a rock and a hard place, sometimes the way out is clamoring over the stumbling blocks of impenetrable rock, using the threatening circumstances as stepping stones. Because sometimes the best way out is up and over.
“The only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is the way you use them.” ~ Anonymous
On this best day of the year, I’m looking up over the obstacles and I’m hopeful I’ll find freedom from my tight squeeze.