Last year, we began letting Grace drive the jet-ski a little bit. We did this for several reasons, but the main one is that she is a spaz and needs all of the experience possible of handling bigger machinery without the risk of death. As we changed positions and she took the driver’s seat, I said, “Do you see those birds standing in the water? Do not go over there…it is too shallow.” She replied, “Got it Mom!” Five minutes later, we were in the sand, beside the birds, spitting out sand from the engine….we were stuck.
I love using this incident to convey the illustration of when we get stuck in life. There are so many emotions that you go through when you are stuck. Your mind races, you get frustrated, and you may panic. There are also things that need to happen as you unstick yourself.
Don’t panic, you are not helpless.
When I was stuck on the sandbar with 2 fourteen-year-old girls, I could not panic. I was the adult. I had to remain calm, cool and collected while on the inside, I was thinking, “Crap! What if we die out here? We are in a freaking swamp and this could end up like Gilligan’s Island with no professor, just 2 teenagers!!!!” I then looked around at where I was and began to devise a plan. Also, I MAY have been stuck before and I got myself unstuck with time, patience, and work.
“Alright girls. Get off and start pushing.” I said.
“But….we can’t. Jellyfish.”
“GET.OFF.AND.PUSH!!!” I demanded with gritted teeth and they did.
Despite their irrational fear of jellyfish, they pushed.
We kept pushing and pushing only to find more sand. Life is like that so many times. We push and push and we feel like we are not getting anywhere so we give up. We can’t. Every push forward no matter how small is progress.
Find your sense of humor….do not lose your sense of humor. Especially when it gets worse before it gets better.
As we pushed in the sandy water that was up to our calves, we suddenly sunk in sand that went up to our armpits. Screams! Big Screams and all the curse words in my head…only in my head…because obviously quicksand is a real thing and I was the adult so I had to keep my s**t together.
As we were stuck in the quicksand, the jet ski came into deeper water and it began floating away. I had two options. To laugh or cry. I laughed. (I have a tendency to laugh in the worst situations.) We laughed as we continued to push emerging from the water like 3 swamp monsters giggling. And after all the fear and screams, I was the only one that got stung by a jellyfish. Laughing makes most situations lighter. It has a tendency to take a load off even if it is temporary.
I know this illustration is superficial compared to the tragedies and incidents of life that can leave us stuck. Death. Sickness. Divorce. Financial Strain. Family. Kids. Work. It isn’t always a big event, it can be a slow build-up of many things. I talk to women often and there are so many times we are paralyzed with fear because we are stuck and we do not want anyone to know. We cover it up with a smile, a wave, and an “I’m fine.”
No matter how stuck you are, you have to keep moving forward. Sometimes you are moving really, really slow. So slow, you do not feel that you are getting anywhere. Small movements add up to big movements. Small movements make a life and produce growth. Slowly, not quickly, the glue that has you stuck begins to loosen. When things loosen, you find yourself in better water where you can navigate again and set yourself back on course. When you look back on that stuck moment, no matter how much time it took to move through, it makes you stronger not because you didn’t sink but because you were the active part of becoming unstuck.