Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I Need a Nudge

I have a little dog, she’s tiny, only 8 pounds. As cute as can be! Right now, I live in a townhouse so we have some slick wooden stairs that lead up to our bedrooms. My Katiebug (as I call her because she’s as small as an insect) can walk up the stairs. But she’s scared to. So she sits and stares at them when she wants to go up. There’s a little platform there that she just sits and waits on. She’ll only go up them when I come over and nudge her. I point her in the direction and give her that initial nudge that’s all she needs to race up to the top.

Sometimes I feel like that little pup. I can go up the stairs. But they look awfully tall, and I feel so small. I’m not sure I can make it up them. When someone comes over and nudges me, I run right up. So what if there’s no one around to nudge me? What then? Do I just sit and stare? There’s food at the top of the stairs, and I’m hungry, but too scared to climb up. To even try to climb up.

That’s what I think.

But then again, I give myself a hard time more often than I deserve the beating. I feel so messed up and full of issues that I sometimes I tell myself I did something because of one fault I have or one weakness or one thing that’s wrong with me. Sometimes, I don’t make mistakes. Sometimes, I just know what’s good for me. The trouble is I rarely know when I made the right decision and when I made a mistake.

A good friend shared the following parable with me:

“There was an old farmer whose only horse ran away. Knowing that the horse was the mainstay of his livelihood, his neighbors came to commiserate with him. ‘Who knows what’s bad or good?’ said the old man, refusing their sympathy. And indeed, a few days later his horse returned, bringing with it a wild horse. The old man’s friends came to congratulate him. Rejecting their congratulations, the old man said, ‘Who knows what’s bad or good?’ And, as it happened, a few days later when the old man’s son was attempting to ride the wild horse, he was thrown from it and his leg was broken. The friends came to express sadness about the son’s misfortune. ‘Who knows what’s bad or good?’ said the old man. A few weeks passed, and the army came to the village to conscript all the able-bodied men to fight a war against the neighboring province, but the old man’s son was not fit to serve and was spared.”

Sometimes what are our greatest tragedies or what we perceive to be our greatest mistakes lead to great joys. I don’t know if I have any regrets. Well, I can think of one. I let someone treat me in ways I shouldn’t have tolerated. But in the end, maybe I learned something valuable from that period of my life. I believe I did. I often look back at some of the tough decisions I’ve made and wonder whether they were “right.” But like the old man said, “Who knows what’s bad or good?” I sure as hell don’t.

And that’s when I feel lonely. Some part of me feels that things would somehow be better, would at least be more bearable, if I wasn’t alone. It’s so hard for me to make decisions lately. I don’t know why, but I’ve gotten worse at it in the past year or so. Or maybe I’ve just started to notice it more. It makes me feel lost. And confused.

I seem full of fear that I didn’t have before. I can still take chances, can’t I? Or can I? I don’t know. I feel like I’m waiting for my life to start. Waiting for someone else to push play or nudge me up the stairs. But it's now or never, and if I’m hungry, I have to choose whether to eat what’s downstairs or brave the scary trek up.


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