This week has been one of those that get you thinking of the past. I was driving through downtown on my way back into the city during the ungodly evening traffic. I saw this stranger dragging along a not so happy child. They had probably been walking a while, judging from the dust at their ankles and the huge PIL polythene bags overflowing with some used household items. A fatigued confusion lined his face. Lost his house? What’s next? No doubt in some sort of crisis.
It reminded me of the judgement that can come your way from society at that inevitable moment when you both decide its best to end a relationship. It is always difficult to receive social stigma from those closest to you. Everyone will need someone, something to blame. Often, society’s blame will land squarely on a man’s shoulders. You are left with endless moments of self-doubt. I still do not know if our decision to separate was right for everybody, I just know that staying together with all the bitterness that had formed would simply taint those young ones for good. Children can have dreams, we on the other hand, have to create sustainable realities for those dreams.
I had heard a story about a farmer’s donkey that fell into a well. The farmer decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway. With his neighbours, they began to shovel dirt into the well. The donkey realising what was happening, cried horribly. Then, he quieted down. When the farmer looked down the well, he saw that with each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!
The reactions from those closest to us when we called it quits reminded me how life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! As this young man disappeared in to the dense human traffic on the pavement, I would have loved to tell him; free your mind from worry, it rarely solves issues. Shake it off and take a step up.