Let me say upfront, it wasn’t my finest moment.
I got stuck in our first-floor bathroom. We have the same doorknobs that were first installed by the contractor who built the house. The inside mechanism on the doorknob in the bathroom is worn and doesn’t always catch, my wife has been asking me to replace it with a shiny, new one, I’ve been meaning to fix it, but other things have always seemed to get in the way.
I did my business, washed, and dried my hands, and went to leave. Nope, the door wouldn’t open. I tried again, it wouldn’t budge. Nah, I couldn’t really be locked out. I let out a little nervous laugh and pushed harder on the door, nothing.
No way out
I yelled out my wife’s name, but my son had driven her to her Occupational Therapist appointment for the hand she broke in December, and I wasn’t expecting them back until later. To make matters worse, I normally carry my phone with me, but I had left it on a kitchen counter, and I had a meeting starting in twenty minutes.
Catch-22. No good answers. No way out.
I sat back down and thought about my situation. Unless I found a way to become the next Harry Houdini, the great American escape artist from the early 1900s, I was going to be stuck in the bathroom for a while. I had lots of Band-Aids, cough medicine, and a few rolls of toilet paper underneath the sink, but that was it, no tools, nothing to help me out of my situation.
Now I guess this a good moment to explain, I have no patience. The day God was handing out the patience trait, I jumped out of line and my attempts over the years to learn how to be more patient have usually ended badly.
Letting my guard down
So, why am I mentioning this on a blog that focuses on the things that matter most in our lives? Simple, I sat back down and let the wave of frustration roll over me. I was actually much more shaken up than I would care to admit. I was tired and frustrated and felt like everything was coming to a head. I had lots of meetings and work that I needed to complete. On this one day, though, I would have to give up my drive to be perfect. I would miss my meeting, maybe two or three others. I would have live with and be happy whatever life gave me.
So be it.
I let out a breath. For a control freak, letting go and giving it up to God or fate, or whatever you want to call it, is the toughest thing to do. Life has a way, though, of stepping in and forcing us to step aside. I wouldn’t be in charge today. I would have to let things play out and let the chips fall where they may.
I thought about the best way to use my time in my self-created cellblock. I got an image in my head of me leaning on a jail cell, arms hanging over the steel bars, singing a “woe is me” song. I pulled myself out of my “gallows humor” and instead thought of how fortunate I was. I could think of worse situations to be in and started to make a mental list of everything I was grateful for in my life. I thanked God for bringing two of my three kids home for Christmas. I thanked God too for my wife. Finally, I prayed a prayer of thanks for the new friends I’ve made on this blog.
I can’t explain it, but I felt better. The anxiety in my stomach flew away. I felt calmer than I’ve felt in weeks. I stood up to look at myself in the mirror. Okay, maybe this wouldn’t be such a bad day after all. I laughed at my crazy situation. Who else could get themselves locked in their own bathroom?
I looked again at the mirror and then turned and tried the latch. It was out habit, I can’t say I was thinking about it all that much, it was just a natural reflex. Of course, this time I was able to turn the doorknob and open the door. Just like that, voila. I wasn’t sure what to think about what happened, but it worked, nonetheless.
I went back to my day, I can’t say I was a perfect example of calm and peace the rest of the day, but I breathed easier, I let work challenges soak over me without getting too frustrated and when my day was done, I shut my laptop and put work to bed.
And of course, I gave my wife a big hug when she came home and promised that I would replace the doorknobs my first free weekend. Yes sir, this weekend, new doorknobs for the entire house. Home Depot and me, mark it down.
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All the best, Brian.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.com.