In this life, we all have issues/weaknesses/faults that we are forced to tolerate/embrace/overcome. Everyone has something. Even if they don’t want to admit it. Some of us (lucky us) have a lot more than others. It seems like the people I like best are the ones with an in-between amount. They are living in reality enough to fully know themselves and are working at improvement. They aren’t full of themselves and are also not a “hot mess” (is there really such a thing?)…just in between…humble enough for them to relate to me, and honest enough for me to relate to them.
I love the story by one friend about her daughter who was struggling with a lot of physical challenges all at once. As a wise teenager she explained her situation to her mom, “I think when God lined us up, before sending us to earth, He gave us each the opportunity to see examples of trials we may face. I must have raised my hand for ALL of them.”
Here recently Momastery mentioned her progress with depression not being linear but circular. She briefly mentioned her frustration with dealing with the same issues over and over again but that she has resigned herself to progress being slow but circular. When I read her post I was reminded of a theory someone once mentioned at church. I like to call it the slinky theory. Yeah, I’m sophisticated like that.
Take your issue in the form of a flat piece of metal. Deal with the issue over and over and over again.You will be dragging that metal in circles and feeling like it is just weighing you down. Your frustrations will be pretty high. “Why am I here again?” you may lament, “I thought I already got over this?” If at that moment you will take the time to look down, you will see that you really aren’t “here” again. In fact the issue has been dealt with time and time again and “here” is actually represented by the cylinders of the slinky below you. You are in a new “here”, a higher “here”.
In that very moment if you really want to frustrate yourself you can look up and realize that, yes, you will be visiting the problem many many more times. Each future “here” will be represented by the cylinders above you on the same slinky called “menacing issue -why can’t you just go away”? This may seem awful and hopeless and cruel, but really isn’t each slinky a small little miracle? I mean even the littlest of kids know that slinkies are about the coolest thing ever. And just think: you have multiple ones going on at the same time and they are each crawling UP the stairs without stopping. It’s actually breathtaking!
Some people get the pleasure of reaching the top of their slinky. They get to retire it all together, but I dare say most of us kind of grow accustomed to our slinkies and hold on to them if only for the memories they represent.
I have a whole heck of a lot of slinkies. I am impatient, overeating, controlling, oversharing, codependent, critical, distrusting, loud, and truthfully the list goes on and on and on and on and on and….. I do believe I will stop there because I like to take my slinky building one at a time. I don’t like allowing myself to dwell and get too hopeless. I like to recognize my progress every time I am “here”. In fact, I believe that the act of recognizing that “here” is actually just a smidgen higher than the former “heres” has the ability to launch me to the next rung on the slinky a lot faster.
When I hear of the hopeless who die from suicide or give in to poverty or stay stuck in obesity or can’t shake an addiction, I relate to them. My heart goes out the them. I am just a fellow slinkier and sometimes slinky making is so painful. I ache for them, but I also ache for me. Going around those cylinders is not easy, but I wonder if anyone ever taught them (like they did for me) that making slinkies is not just acceptable but the whole purpose of this life.
So yeah, I still have forty pounds to lose, but I have also lost forty which by my calculations puts me smack dab in the middle of one of my slinkies. I’m 0nly 39 years old so surely I have at least another 39 to go. I might even get to retire this slinky all together someday, but I’ve decided to just enjoy the slow climb up the metal slide. On most of my slinkies I should be all the way to heaven by now, but they must have super tiny and tight curls because I’m really still so very close to earth. But it’s o.k. What else would I do if I didn’t have slinky making? Nothing more cool. Slinkies are the coolest.