Danger! Confined Space. NO ENTRY



I took this photo because it made me laugh. I was on my way home from taking my older boys to school when I stopped at an intersection and found myself alongside a red cement mixer. This warning sign was right next to my window and it cracked me up! Surely no one needs to be warned not to climb inside a cement mixer! Even more absurd is the idea that anyone could be bothered! The only people who might fit through the very small, very narrow opening, would be a child, but seeing as the opening is about ten feet (or more) off the ground, it would have to be a professional abseiling child of about five!

The tragedy is this, that as I thought about this picture (hastily snapped on my mobile phone with the hope that there were no police officers nearby to fine me $250 for touching my mobile phone while driving a car- even though I was stationary), I realised that there was, in fact, someone stupid enough to  climb those ten feet and squeeze their adult frame through a tiny crawl hole into the dark, airless, churning bowl of concrete. Me!

About  three years ago I had one of those confrontations with a *person to whom I have a relationship from which I cannot extricate myself but with whom I do not live* (names and details excluded in case they ever decide to read one of my blogs…ha ha ha). You know, the confrontation that you cannot avoid because you can no longer ignore the elephant in the room? It was the right thing to do, and I handled the confrontation well BUT it went pear-shaped anyway and what followed was an excremental storm of  diarrheic proportions. Three years later all of us involved in the events that followed what I would still call a civilised and mature discussion but that erupted into a whole lot more, are still recovering. I have no need to throw dirt (apparently that causes you to lose ground!), to prove a point, or even to be right. The point is, that at the time, mid-eruption, I had a choice to make, AND I CHOSE WRONG!

In the busyness of dodging character assassinating spears and flying excrement as it made its way from the fan towards me, I forgot to pay attention to the hole into which I was crawling for cover; and I squeezed my not-insubstantial frame through that tiny opening into the dark, airless, churning cauldron of unforgiveness. The bad news was that I wasn’t actually safe from the dung-flinging in there either, in fact, there were shovel loads being tossed in there with me and I was left to churn and churn and churn with it all while the other party was sitting comfortably astride their high horse handing it out. Stupid me! I  had wanted to stand up for what was right, to show up the injustice and strike a blow for those who had been injured, and I was stuck in a barrel full of…well, you know what…and the longer I was in there, the more I became covered in the junk that was churning around in there with me, and the more claustrophobic I became, and the more I began to stink of the stuff. The irony is that all the crud that was tumbling in there with me was the proof that I needed that I had been right to do what I did, that I was, to some degree, right. The problem was that I couldn’t climb out of what was becoming a suffocating place because it would mean leaving the evidence behind and then what would I have to show for all the pain I’d endured? The other party was walking around smelling like roses while I was stank. It wasn’t fair. Where was the justice for me? Why was I sick to the stomach whenever we were due to cross paths when I was in the right?

The sickening answer is this: Because I chose to be there. I had crawled in. I was staying in and clutching the offense to my bosom, absorbing it, dwelling on it, marinating in it. I kept myself in there. I had the power to get myself out.

Did you know there is no such word as unforgiveness. The spell checker on here is yelling at me about that little word. In my dictionary it does not exist and the only antonyms it offers for forgiveness are ‘mercilessness’ and ‘punishment’. I wasn’t punishing the other party at all, I was punishing myself…for their insensitivity, for their immaturity, for their selfishness, for their issues! How dumb can you be and still breathe????? I may be stupid at times, but I’m not merciless…and yet I was rolling in it!

So I used the age old, God-given super power of humankind…I used my free will to choose to climb out of that barrel and into the fresh air leaving all the excrement behind me. I washed myself in forgiveness (remembering that I am far from perfect and have been forgiven numerous times myself) and took a nice ddep breath of fresh air! I’d forgotten how good it felt to really breathe.

The other party are still around, shovelling and doing as before, but I have made a huge discovery now that I can think clearly again, now that my brain is no longer strangled by the fetid air of unforgiveness…what goes around, comes around. If I don’t hang on to that cement truck full of all the muck that has been thrown at me, it will finally be released to its rightful owner…and one of these days, the owner of all this flung dung will wake up to find that it has been delivered to its rightful place, deposited in a pile on their front doorstep, ready for them to dig their way out of it as best they can.

And I feel better…enough even that I might lend them my shovel…and maybe even help a little bit!

So there’s a warning here: Danger! Confined Space! Do Not Enter…..trust me…I’ve been there!


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