Locked out!

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. 

Meditative thoughts

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.

. . . .

Thank you for reading. Please follow our site and join in on the discussion. In addition, please visit my personal blog at www.writingfromtheheartwithbrian.com or follow me on Instagram at @writingfromtheheartwithbrian.

All the best, Brian.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.com.

30 thoughts on “Locked out!

  1. I absolutely love that your resorted to “gallows humor” before moving on to gratitude! Laughing at ourselves and our situations is such a great salve and, I’ve found, helps loosen us up before we go deeper. When we’re in such situations with literally no control, simply accepting that is beyond powerful. A few times, I’ve had my legs give out and I’ve been lying on the ground for who knows how long, waiting from someone to show up and help or to regain strength. It amazes me how quickly the frustration evaporates when we just let go. Thank for you this, Brian! Also, hooray for new doorknobs!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Ha, ha, yes, I’ve always thought I was a little strange, my first resort is to see the challenges mixed in with some “gallows humor” or sarcasm, and then shifting into a more optimistic or positive viewpoint. I need to work my way through, before I can give up control and start to accept my situation. I used to think I was too negative, but I think now it’s actually my way of getting to a positive state. Plus, sometimes, you just have to laugh at the situation! And yes, I have a date this weekend with the hardware store! Ha, ha, thanks so much Erin, appreciate your perspective!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This, Brian! This: “I sat back down and let the wave of frustration roll over me”. Almost as if you gave in and let the feeling take over, and then it made space, gave way, for your revelations and more peace, a little calm. And yes…we’ll be checking on you to see if you’ve made your way to Home Depot, friend! 😉😉😉

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I think you’re right, that’s exactly what it did, made space for acceptance and calm. It was really frustrating. I was really annoyed with myself. Ha, ha. And yes, my wife has a girls weekend with her cousins and friends, so it’s the NFL playoffs, Home Depot or Lowes (take your pick), and me this weekend. There used to be a children’s animated cartoon show, Bob the Builder — that’s going to be me!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh boy, this is so good! I could feel the anxiety for you (my claustrophobia was feeling it for you too), along with that sense that all the things you’re working so hard to juggle are going to come crashing down. But like Vicki and Erin said, experiencing the feeling, and laughing at it, was just fantastic. Then your ability to feel gratitude. And I loved that it had a happy ending. 👏🏼😊 Such a wonderfully humorous, AND inspiring post, Brian!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m not normally claustrophobic, but that’s why I stood back up, the room was starting to get a lil cramped. I remember thinking that if I even just had a pen and paper, then I could make use of the time by writing out a to-do list or working on a new blog. Yes, I don’t deal well with “just being.” I had to laugh at myself. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts Kendra. My concern with the post is yes, it shows my goofball self, but I worried that I didn’t make the connection strong enough to what matters. I’m glad it comes through!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not good at just being either. Oof, something for me to ponder there. And yes, I thought your point was made brilliantly – with humor and perfectly relatable! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a great story. I love the “so be it” and the acceptance that provided the calm, the gratitude, and then the freedom from the inside out! What an incredible post about learning — from everything!! Beautiful, Brian!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m not sure Wynne. I think it’s a great story about me being a “doofus” and the need to laugh at ourselves, but I’ll take it. Ha, ha. I’m just glad I was able to turn a challenging situation into a learning one. It will certainly stay with me. When I’ve gotten upset lately, I remind myself that I could be stuck in the bathroom. Definitely calmer.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Wisdom tempered with a “what the heck” attitude Brian- and really what else could you do at that point? Reaction to unexpected glitches can, and should probably be a choice rather than a customary autopilot reaction. Sometimes (and I tell myself this often) there are just things you can’t control no matter how much you want to!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Oh yea, definitely “what the heck!” and sadly a few other expletives too Julia! Fortunately, I slowed down and realized that the problem was just a part of life. Like you wrote, sometimes there are just things you can’t control, no matter how much you want to. Thanks for understanding!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow Brian! What a fabulous gift you were given! If that experience wasn’t a message of the highest order from a universe that loves and wants the best for you, I don’t know what is. And how fascinating that as soon as you got the message, you were released. This is the best story I’ve read in a long time—and good for you for being so transparent. I’m happy that the message was delivered in such a gentle way—just think of the myriad or ways it could have been so much worse—stuck in a hideous traffic jam with a desperate need for bathroom facilities, for example. Count your blessings that you got off so easily! Congratulations to you! 👏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, it did dawn on my stubborn head that the message could have been delivered in a much tougher way. Stuck in a traffic jam would not have been fun. I’ll take alone in the bathroom, with help eventually coming, any day of the week. Thanks for the feedback on the piece too Julia. I know you read a lot, so I’m very pleased to hear that it touched you. I try to be as transparent and authentic in my writing. Yes, I may get a little teasing from my wife and friends . . . but I’d much rather be original than trying to fake my way through life. Thanks again for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My palms got a little sweaty when I first started reading. I probably need a good locking up in the bathroom to bring me back to what’s important. I really enjoyed your writing style, humor, and that photo of the door!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Tracey, I really appreciate the feedback. I’m sorry for scarring you. Ha, ha, I’m not sure that I’m much of a horror writer, except for maybe scarring myself. At one point, at my worst, I really did think I was going to be locked in the bathroom until late into the evening. If it had stayed locked, I’m pretty sure I would have wrecked my shoulder trying to knock the door down. Thank goodness it didn’t come to that. Thanks so much for reading and for your feedback. It’s great to see that it touched home. Have a great weekend.


  8. Wow. Clearly you needed to learn an important lesson in the most ridiculous of situations. I’m glad you did, and that you apparently didn’t miss your work meeting. I was imagining you later needing to explain to your coworkers/boss that you missed it because you were locked in the bathroom. It could be a while before they would let that one go, I imagine. 😛 Good on you, Brian. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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