Sometimes we just get stuck. Paralyzed even, not knowing what next thing to do. And I’m not referring to the simple things — the pile of papers on the floor beside your desk, unanswered mail, a garage busting at the door seams pleading for organization, shelving, and purging.
It’s the big stuff. Losing people and being mired down in grief. As the tide recedes from the tsunami of saying goodbye, what’s left on the shoreline? Legal documents, medicines, clothing, pictures — all needing to be addressed, dealt with, and confronted.
We can be stuck in the paralysis of a sedentary lifestyle with all of its accoutrements of weight gain and stiff joints. Maybe we have writers block. Maybe we are mired down in debt, addiction, or vice. And then there is the insidious undertow of fear, something hard to identify or face down but holding us tight, knee-deep in pluff mud.
Here’s a trivial example from my treasure trove of stuckness. After a weekend of non-stop Zoom calls associated with an on-line conference, I collapsed. I have new plants begging for space in my garden, stacks of papers and books wanting a home on a shelf or in a drawer, and that garage I referred to earlier…it’s mine and it wants to be a garage and not a storage unit.
Instead of taking a baby step out of stuck to address the next first task, I stretched out on a chaise, flipped through magazines, searched for new music on my phone and dozed when the warmth of the sun invited sleep. I followed this up with a movie whose surprise lesson lurked behind the arrowed grin of Prime video; finish what you start and achieve your potential. I kid you not.
Quietly filtering through the dusk of my mini-Sunday Sabbath was a message in a movie bottle wrapped in digital technicolor film. Finish what you start and achieve your potential.
In the final minutes of the movie, as evening quiet settled in, a friend called. She is stuck under layers — work, loss, and financial stress. At the end of our conversation, I asked her how I could help. The words stuck in my throat because asking isn’t the same as doing and distance isn’t helping me to help. I often resort to prayer for answers but sometimes the only voice I hear is the echo of my thoughts intertwined with the screech of tinnitus.
So I write. I figure that if I’m stuck, maybe someone else out there is too. Maybe the answer to my prayers is tangled up in words waiting to find a home on the page. Maybe if I write about my “stuckness,” I’ll process it, come up with a plan, get up off of my butt and make something happen. And I will. And my friend will. And maybe there is a lesson tucked away in here somewhere for other readers. Just take that first step. Seek the company and love of family, friends, and community. A deep breath and good hydration can serve as a decent substitute in lieu of a loving cheerleading squad if family and friends are far away.
It’s like this. Sometimes the hurdles seem insurmountable. We don’t have answers. There are questions that will always remain as questions. As much as I dislike uncertainty, that’s where acceptance seeps in . . . and surrender. I struggle with those – Let Go, Let God, but maybe don’t let it alone. Inhale. Get up. Get dressed. Lace up your shoes. Finish that cup of coffee. Brush your teeth and wash your face. If you can do those simple things, you are a lucky dog. F*#!k being stuck and good luck. Yep, I write poetry too. Hope you’re smiling.