White Knuckled

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This week’s back roads took me back “home” to Walla Walla, WA. A place where every feeling, every emotion is stirred in me… I always think of  Dickens’ The Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, and the worst of times.” Perhaps this is why the town has two names.

As I drove down school Ave. I could feel my heart begin to race, the street sign “Celestria Drive” made it pound harder.. by the time the school came into full view, it was racing and it was all that I could do to keep from jumping out of the car and running the opposite way.

But, once the initial panic is over, enough time has passed that I can now see some of the good.

I cannot blame this particular part of the world for me living life white knuckled. It was just my whole life, early one, and so it is how I learned to live it.

I can say, now at 50, I have let go a little… not always willingly, but all the same… have done it.

Recently was my last really big one. Staring fear straight in the eyes and………….

Do you recall when you first learned to swing on the monkey bars? I do. I can still see the little girl…. terrified and elated all at the same time. Standing there, friends cheering her on. “YOU can do it” they would call out…. yet, all I could think of is the what ifs…. we had all seen the crash and burns and frankly they just weren’t all that pretty.

You quickly learn that you cannot not move on to the next wrung with both hands holding on so tightly to the one. I also knew that there had to be a whole body movement…. You couldn’t just jump from on to the other if your whole self wasn’t…. well, ready.

I can also recall the delight and the pure shock when I did it and didn’t kill myself in the process….

My life has been a lot like that monkey bar of late. Knowing full well that I needed to let go of some “things”, in order to be able to move forward. Sometimes, when you understand that you were just dead weight on the bar, you need to allow yourself the grace to fall, hit the ground, re-climb the stairs and grab a hold of the wrung and with your whole body work your way across to the other side.

I am not far enough away from this particular experience to have a lot of insight, but my experience tells me, that while I was freaked out, starring at the one wrung… there came a time, when you no longer only see the one first wrung… when you go out to play. At some point, your perspective changes and you are able to see the whole monkey bars – –  – knowing full well that you can so dominate it.

Fear is a funny thing….. hanging on, only creates more fear. At some point all of the things that keep you there have to be faced. All the “what if”, answered.

What if I let go, and discover “it” never really was what I thought it was? What if I let go and lose “it” forever? what If I let go and discover I never really needed “it”? What if I let go and survive? what if I let go and don’t

The only way you ever really know is to let go. The one thing is for sure, if both hands are firmly on one wrung – they are too full for the next one.

I’ve conquered a lot of things in my fifty years. Slayed huge dragons and wrapped gaping wounds. I’ve begged “Uncle” to God on more than one occasion. I’ve loved and lost, trusted the wrong people, been hurt by those that nature says should love you the most…

Here I stand, once again at life’s monkey bars knowing full well that if I am going to conquer love, life, happiness… I need to let go.. and not go on living life; white knuckled.

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