A Joyful Journey...

Join Doris Smeltzer, critically acclaimed author/educator, as she muses on topics from eating disorders to the mysteries of life. Often "Featured" are select, astute observations made by Andrea during her all too brief 19-year life…it is she who taught us: the joy IS in the journey!

Getting "un-stuck"

It's been an interesting beginning to the New Year. While helping our daughter and son-in-law put up new fencing for their horses, we've found our vehicles "stuck" twice in the span of just a few weeks.The first time was with our little Prius. As we were readying to leave their home, after a fence-postponing mishap with their tractor (another story in itself), we attempted to turn our car around on their VERY steep and narrow driveway--so steep that it is far easier to drive out than to back out.

Within seconds, our tires left the concrete and quickly lost their ability to grab the road. We were on gravel that rapidly transformed into muddy ruts with our repeated and unsuccessful attempts to get unstuck. Adding to the adventure was the fact that we'd slipped backwards enough that our "underbelly" straddled a large rock. In addition, we were precariously close to the edge of a retaining wall that, due to damage done in a recent storm by a fallen tree, was not the most solid of surfaces. Our son-in-law ended up towing us forward with his behemoth 4-wheel drive Dodge Ram. Disaster averted!

One or two weekends later, we returned to finish the fencing job. This go-round we decided to use the front-end of the BIG truck (instead of the tractor) to connect our winch and tighten the fencing. All went well until the final pull, when this huge, 4-wheel-drive vehicle started chewing ruts in the grass as blithely as our Prius had done to the gravel.

We tried everything to give the tires something on which to perch--planks of wood, spreading gravel in the ruts, cardboard strips--to no avail. Our daughter Jocelyn looked at me and said, "Let's dig out the grooves." She had observed how slick the mud and grass had made the tires. We had nothing to lose, so we grabbed a couple of long, sturdy screw-drivers and began working on flicking out the accumulated mud from the tires' tred. A long shot, but with the help of the tractor, we succeeded in getting the truck un-stuck. Although our husbands felt our efforts helped, Jocelyn and I agreed that our efforts at digging the guck out of the deep treds had been the force that made the difference.

What a metaphor for living an examined life. We can attempt to skim through life without ever looking deeply inward, which may appear on the surface to be effective until we realize that we've made no progress forward. Or we can choose the more difficult, challenging path: to dig through the depths of our being, heedless of the mud flying by, as we make progress in waking up to living in the moment and slowly...ever so slowly...inching towards our goals and values. Not unlike healing from an eating disorder.

[Originally posted on the Gürze Books Eating Disorders Blogs]

From Africa, with love

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