When things are going well, minimal effort is required to execute my plans. I move forward with ease, the next step uncomplicated and obvious. I appreciate the lack of obstacles, as I know this is a temporary state. This isn’t a pessimistic view, just one based on experience. I have learned to expect some stumbling blocks. Often they unite against me, dividing and multiplying like cells to form a wall. What I haven’t learned is how to react to the walls constructively. When people are looking I respond thoughtfully, careful to appear grown up. Alone, I might have a tantrum, utter profanities, or cry like a two year old.
I think it’s better to be annoyed than to visit the root of what I’m feeling at the foot of yet another wall, which is despair. I’m tired of walls, especially today when I’m still aching from the last climb. And the climb I made with a dear friend who is facing obstacles that are unfair and harrowing. I’ll help her as best I can. The muscles I’ve strengthened will be useful to her.
It’s easy for me to face her wall and see that it needs to be tackled, head on. The only other option is to back down and give up. So I encourage her to persevere and give it a go, with all her might, and my strength behind her as well. The wall is the catalyst for our power. It challenges us to exert ourselves beyond what we thought were our limits.
I try to remember this at the foot of my own wall, this one smaller and less daunting than my friend’s, but a hurdle that must be overcome, on a different level. I will welcome the annoyance, because it is a healthier response than despair. It can be used as fuel.There is no room for hopelessness here. Still, my first reaction is indignation, followed by some lame plans to go around it, look for some kind of door through it, or tunnel under it. Time is wasted in these futile attempts, although I’ve been very creative in pursuing them. I also remember that I can ask for help if I need it, and it will be there.
We wish the wall never appeared, but without it we would be weak and useless, especially in our most important work of helping one another get a leg up and over. As kind and gentle as we are with a friend facing an obstacle, we must practice that same generosity for ourselves.
At my writing desk, I’m stumbling over hurdles that slow me down and impede my progress. With every one I clear, I gain some strength, understanding and insight. I almost look forward to them now, trying an approach for the best odds of a favorable landing: steady pace, full exertion and tender loving care. It’s good practice.