"Hmmm...?" Absentmindedly. Busy reading a college textbook.
I hear thumps up the stairs. Must be Turtle.
"Hey, Corn," Sure enough, Turtle pops her curly brown head into the doorway. "You busy now?"
I gesture at the half-read chapter. "Sort of. What d'you need?"
She unceremoniously dumps a tangled mess onto my book. "Can you unknot this for me? I don't know why, but my necklaces always end up getting messed up."
A subtle thrill tingles through my body. Although I never fully understood why, untangling things has always appealed to me. I find it calming, theraputic, and immensely satisfying. I've watched others give up over facing the tiny metal knots, slippery chains, and painstaking patience and frustration tolerance it requires. Oddly enough, I'm not a particularly patient person, nor do I tolerate frustration too well, but I guess the combo of having the opportunity to use my hands in fine motor coordination and the challenge of a difficult task spurs me to tackle every knotted necklace chain I've ever been acquainted with.
Having deposited her job for me, Turtle goes back downstairs, her "Thank you, Corner!" brightly swishing up as she runs down. I smile to myself and push away the text to make more room for me to work.
I lean close to determine the tangle factor.
Ahhh...a difficult one...5 knots in 3 places, some quite large. Bless you, Turtle, you're a funny one. But good. Bring it on.
But it's harder than I'd thought. The knots are tight. Especailly the bigger ones. Each part of the chain loops around, over, under, through, tightly twining the knots to themselves. Each section of chain that I loosen ends up in turn tightening another one so that the knot just get harder to untangle. Hmmm.... There's gotta be some way to get this done...
Thus begins my lesson of the day.
We're continually faced with challenges. Sometimes we willingly accept them, while other times we try to put them off for as long as we can, but it's always our job and our right to try to meet those challenges that are presented to us.
We appraise the challenge. Look at it from all sides. Assess the damage and determine the tangle factor. And then we tackle it, in whichever form of tackling we choose to use.
And sometimes the tangle is worse than we'd thought. Tighter, trickier, harder to crack. We try to take things slowly, attempt to disentangle each section on its own to see what works, but sometimes that seems to make things worse. Frustration builds. We entertain the thought of giving up.
But...Hmmm..... There's gotta be some way to get this done...
Sighing, I put the knotted mess aside. I lean back in my chair and flex my cramped fingers.
When it comes to chains, I'm not easily deterred, but this one is simply impossible. I'd tried everything. All the tricks that worked the last time didn't work now. All the tried and true methods were failing me. I felt discouraged, frustrated.
But then it hit me.
It's supposed to be like that.
If each challenge contained the same difficulty level, there'd be no work involved. We wouldn't have to exert ourselves. We'd go through the motions and *poof*--problem solved. We wouldn't get frustrated. But.....we also wouldn't grow.
The challenges we're presented with are personally designed for us each time they're given. We are supposed to use some of the methods we'd learned from last time, and also some new methods that we need to make up specially for the new challenge at hand. Somehow, that proccess of coming up with novel ideas helps us develop into more complex and special people.
And we don't always need to do it alone. Sometimes we're allowed to call in professionals who can steer us in the right direction. There's no sin in taking a particularly stubborn knot to a jeweler if that's what will work best. But it's not okay to give up because that knot is too hard for us to handle by ourselves.
And sometimes all that's required of us is to put that knot aside for a little while. Rest our cramped fingers. Take a cleansing breath. We don't need to take care of everything in one day. I've learned the hard way that at times rushing will only make things worse. Steady, slow hands and a clear head are the only things that can work.
I breathe deeply. Look around the room. Notice the sun has traveled across the carpet to the doorway, filling the room with golden warmth. I walk to the window, stepping over some unfiled papers that are silently entreating me for attention. A little voice inside me soothes, "Shhhh...it's okay to take a little breather..." The trees outside are almost bare. Just a few sunny leaves still stubbornly clinging to the branches. Sunshine trees make me smile. I watch the last leaves, drinking in their vibrance like a thirsty child.
Feeling slightly more full inside, I turn back to the task at hand. The knots are still there. Running away from a problem never accomplishes anything.
I let out a breath. Turn on the desk lamp. Focus.
I pull a strand. Nope. Another. It gives, but not enough to come loose. I keep at it, methodically trying each exposed bit of chain, hoping to find the one that will release the rest.
I find it.
Slowly ease it out. Pulling, not too hard, but enough to make it slowly slip out, link by link.
And from there, other tangles come loose. New sections of chain are exposed, now ready to be worked on. The satisfying feeling creeps up. I can do it...I'm doing it...It's working...
Sometimes all we need is to take a little break. To pause for a moment, or an hour, or a day, or a few months, so that we can reflect and rejuvinate and come back to our challenge with renewed vigor.
Every challenge is designed to be overcome.
Every test is meant to be passed.
Come on, Corner...you can do it... I can do it...
"Hey, Turtle! Come on up, I've gotten it out..."