Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Wall

This week, things didn't happen when I wanted them to.

I'm not talking about the little things, either, like waiting too long in line at the supermarket or wrestling a child into the car for school. I'm talking about the big things, like health insurance, and finding work, and getting paid for work I've already done. Things non-self-employed people don't have to think about.

When I made this choice to work for myself, I knew there would be less stability. I also knew I could handle some degree of uncertainty, at least better than I would have in the past. So on Monday, when the things I wanted didn't come, I said to the universe, "OK, I get it. I'm learning patience. It's hard, but I can do it."

Except. Then I said it again on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, I said it to some friends, too. "Look how well I'm doing! In the past, this would have been really hard for me, but I'm hanging in there."

By Thursday, I was saying it louder. With gritted teeth. "OK, Universe. Great lesson! I think I've got it now."

Yesterday afternoon, when it was 5 PM everywhere and my inbox was still empty and my mailbox held nothing but bad news; when it was clear that the things I thought I had to have this week, that I would certainly have by the end of this week, were not coming ... I hit the wall like a child learning to ride a two-wheeler.

It's not that I couldn't have seen the wall in front of me. It had been there all week, just waiting. All I had to do was turn, or stop. But I was holding on to those handlebars so tight, working so hard just to stay upright, not to fall, that I hit it anyway.

Like a kid learning to ride a bike, I went into business for myself for the freedom. I'd seen others do it, and man, it looked like fun. I had an image of myself cruising along, feeling every bit as carefree as they looked. Legs out. Hands off the handlebars. Flying downhill.

But then I got on the bike. And suddenly it all seemed so ... improbable. Suddenly, all I could see were the forces working against me, the pitfalls, all the ways I could fall, at any minute, to the left or the right.

Staying upright, moving forward? At the moment, that seems like a miracle. A kind of grace.

I can't be sure, but I'm starting to get the idea that it (like other forms of grace) will happen only when I loosen my grip on the handlebars, forget all the 'what-if's, and keep my eyes focused straight ahead. My job is to avoid that wall. I know the universe will take care of the rest. When it's time.

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