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Mar 5, 2010

Story of my life

This week as I have been pondering my life and the ways I might do things better, I reflected on the literary gem below.

There's a hole in my sidewalk: Autobiography in five short chapters

By Portia Nelson

Chapter One
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost .... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in this same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit ... but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter Four
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter Five
I walk down another street.

...

Lately I have been frustrated that I keep falling into the same holes -- and that there are so many in my sidewalk. Some holes are small and silly and superficial, but some are more serious and ugly. Either way, I keep falling in and often get stuck. No matter how much I struggle, it seems there is no way out. The pattern is just ridiculous! Can't I jump to Chapter Five already? I keep thinking I should be smarter than all of this. The gray hair on my head ought to be a mark of wisdom, right?

Thankfully, gentle friends and family members have reminded me that my sidewalk full of holes doesn't mark me for perpetual disaster. They are feeding me messages of faith, hope, repentance, patience, learning, growth, and trust. They are teaching me about what draws me into the holes in the first place, and, more importantly, who can help me out of them.

It is sometimes possible to walk without falling, but in the standing up and climbing out there is progress.
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