The only home I ever remember growing up in was in a red brick house. Our red brick house was at the very top of the street. It was the only red brick house on the street. There was also a red brick driveway that I used to skip and hop from one brick to the next. Later on, the red bricks were removed and replaced with a black tarred and smooth pavement. Although much easier to walk and drive on, there was nothing like that red bricked driveway that I do missed and loved. At the very top of our street lane, there was a big yellow diamond-shaped sign that read “DEAD END.”
As a child and teenager, I rarely ever walked all the way down the street lane because, after all, it was a “DEAD END.” However, in my years as a college student and even more so in my adult years after recovering from two surgeries back to back in less than two years apart of each other, I spent my idle time walking up and down and up and down and up and down some more. I walked with others. I walked alone. The crunch of the leaves under my feet. The golden and crimson hues of the leaves. The fresh air. Being in the company of Mother Nature was the greatest gift I could ask for in my time of contemplation and reflections about my life. I was helping myself. This was my therapy. This was my healing process.
Always at the very end of the street lane was the dead end. There was nowhere else for me to go but back up again to home. In my walks down that street, though, I met neighbors I had never known. I met a veteran who fought in World War II. He had deep wrinkles etched in his sandpaper smooth skin and a gap toothed grin. He proudly showed off his prized homegrown heirloom tomatoes to me. I saw beauty I had never seen before. The very last house on the right side was a whole band of bamboo shooting out; Bend, but not break. In that house was a classmate two years younger than me who I had bonded with when I was in middle school and high school. After high school, life continued on and we parted ways. I would see the bamboo and I would see there was nowhere else to go, but I came to learn in my life that there are many people you meet along the way and a whole lot of magic that defies logic. Most of all, there is always somewhere to eventually go and that ‘dead ends’ in life cannot stop us, but have the greatest power to restart us and force us to move due to a guttural and ingrained survival tactic and survivor that is in all of us.
There have been many times (too many to count or possibly rehash to you) that I hit a dead end in my life. I did not know how, where, or when to turn around. I had been in situations where I saw it as trapped or a double-edged sword that no matter what I did, I would lose out and screw myself in the end. That no matter how much I gave, it was never enough. It would never be enough. There are many times in all of our lives (too many to possibly share) that we are in a place of quiet, stillness and teeter precariously on ‘stuck’ and ‘dead ended’ after being burnt, hurt, OR even having it ‘too good’ –believe it or not. We are too scared of changing and of change and then also too scared of not changing and no change at all. These are very delicate and fragile times in our lives that have completely power to change us. There are the times when we are about to turn the corner and are forced to have to break the ‘dead ends’ in our lives.
By default and deep inside me, I am a doer. It is who I am. It is easy for anyone to say anything, but to actually do and take action is a whole other ballgame. In fact, probably one of my downfalls is I lack patience to wait around and loathe the whole decision-making process that I have acted too quickly and rashly. On the flip side of the coin, I have been a mere observer to others from the outside who seem to be on a tightrope of trying to heal and get past the past to move forward, but unable to just yet. I have learned that you cannot force or change anyone to get out of their place of a rut, stuck, stillness, or quietness. I have learned that you can be and do your best to support and be there and, most of all, everyone and everything in their own time. Timing will speak volumes when the dead end must come to an end for a new beginning to begin. Hope is necessity, for, without hope, there is nothing. Timing is EVERYTHING in life.
We have all experienced dead ends in our lives. When have you felt that you hit a complete dead end? Felt trapped? Maybe even felt like there was not any hope? Felt like whatever you ended up doing or deciding would screw you over and you would lose in the end? Wanted to change and move forward, but too scared to? Felt like you were in a comfort zone that you could not and would not leave or that you were at an ending that you could not complete close for your new beginning? What did you do when you hit your dead end and when did you take back your dead end to jumpstart your life again for the new chapter and turn that was calling out for and to you?
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,