How to Get UnstuckBlog / Produced by The High Calling
Yesterday, when I made my usual stop for morning coffee at Starbucks, I was greeted by a hand-scrawled sign taped up on one of the glass double-doors. It was written with a scrappy black marker that said, “Sorry, I’m stuck.” At first I didn’t get it. I wondered if someone had posted it as an inside joke for a friend, or perhaps it was a clue in some sort of high school scavenger hunt. But when I tugged on the door handle to walk inside, I realized it was the door that was stuck. The staff had put the sign up as a warning to use the other door . I stepped back to look again at that sad-looking sign. The combination of a pathetic message and poor penmanship had somehow branded this door with a passively apologetic resignation, as if it had given up all hope of ever swinging freely again. “Don’t expect much more out of me, folks. I’m stuck!” Meanwhile, its fully-functional partner on the left was working just fine, swinging briskly back and forth as the cheerful and chatty rush of morning customers came and went. It was as if that healthy door was a little embarrassed by the whole situation, rolling its eyes at its broken-down neighbor with every swing, saying, “You don’t see me falling apart at every little hardship that comes along, now, do you?” Being stuck and sorry is a familiar feeling for most of us, at one time or another. At least to those of us who are actually attempting life, pursuing some dream, taking risks, or just trying to accomplish something new. It’s all part of the process of growing, of becoming. You can’t make progress without getting stuck once in a while. But it’s the getting unstuck part that tends to worry us even more. Deb over at Talk at The Table writes with paradoxical eloquence about that peculiar inertia of being stuck. She writes,
“I stare at the path before me. It's enchanting and glorious and abundant in all things. But I feel lost. I don't know when it's time to rush ahead and round the bend, how much to stop along the way. What do I add to lighten the load? What do I take away? I don't know what to write in the black space. Do you? If God knows where I'm going, which voice is He, in the many. What would you write there?”
Deb’s longing to get unstuck reflects the chaotic jumbled mess we all find ourselves in from time to time. But, how do you move beyond it? What’s the best path to get unstuck? Should we simplify? Focus harder? Make a plan? Take a break? Or should we just slump down and sink in to it for a while, and wait for the fog to burn off? I went back inside Starbucks to buy my morning cup of coffee, but instead of obeying the sign and going through the working door, I grabbed that stuck door handle again and gave it a good hard yank. It was a little jammed at first, but after another strong pull it gave way and opened right up for me. Huh. I guess it wasn’t so stuck after all. Maybe it just took a little more effort that day. When you find yourself stuck, how do you get unstuck?