hole in sidewalk, maggie mcreynolds blog

A Man Falls Down a Hole…

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. On second thought, don’t. You might like the twist at the end.

So, a man walks down a street and falls into a hole. He tries and tries to claw and climb his way out, but the hole is too deep and the sides don’t offer anything to grip or brace against. He begins to call for help. Most people peer in while passing, but continue on their way. The few who do stop are sympathetic—some even make helpful, though useless, suggestions—but eventually, they, too, move on.

Finally, a friend stops by. “Thank God it’s you!” the man cries. “I’ve been stuck here forever, and I can’t get out! I need help!”

“You got it,” says the friend, and he jumps down into the hole.

“Um,” says the man. “Wow. You’re, like, a really great friend to get down here in this hole with me, but now we’re both stuck. How’s that gonna help?”

“You don’t understand,” smiles the friend. “You see, I’ve been in this hole before. I know the way out.”

Now, I’ve been down more than a few holes myself. Over the course of my life, I’ve been laid off, severed relationships, gone broke, been disabled, lost loved ones, and battled infertility. During one period of my life that played like a bad country song, I lost my job, my marriage, and my ability to sit upright all in one gut-punching six-month period.

So why would anyone hire a coach like me? I haven’t lived a perfect, shiny, Barbie’s Dream House of a life. Truth to be told, I still don’t. But I found my path, and I found peace, happiness, fulfillment, and purpose. I am doing what I want to do, every day, and I am happy. Most importantly? I’ve been down that hole before. I know the way out.

The thing is, the way to get out of holes isn’t what you might think. Yeah, theoretically, if you jumped high enough, or someone threw down a ladder long enough, you could climb back up. And you know where you’d find yourself? Exactly where you were before the terrible thing happened. You know, poised to fall down the hole.

When something awful has happened, most of us think we just want things to be THE WAY THEY WERE. But what we really need is a way to move forward. Past the hole. And the only way to get there isn’t to climb back up. The only way out is through.

That’s right: through. Not climbing up, but digging with your bare hands straight into the muck, pushing, a bit at a time, right through it. It isn’t comfortable, and you’ll get dirty, and sometime it will feel like you will never see the sunshine again, until one day, you do. One day, you dig away at just enough of the mess that a ray of light pierces the darkness, and suddenly, you know the way out.

And just like that, you’ve broken through, and you emerge in a new place, a better place, stronger for having done the work yourself.

So if you find yourself in a hole, my friend, know this: there’s a way out. There always is. And I’d be honored to hold the flashlight while you find it.

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