One Step Forward, Three Steps Back

Have you ever watched a young child building a house with blocks? They start with a sound foundation, each block spaced just right to ensure the layers up above are well balanced and safe. Each layer is gingerly placed. Little fingers steady, no rushed movements, holding their breath, one block after another is placed so that nothing wobbles. Layer upon layer is lovingly built. Their eyes grow wide with appreciation of their creation and then…for no reason that they can see…it all tumbles to the ground and falls in a mess around their knees. All that hard work gone in an instant!

I spent almost 45 years building my life, and that of my children’s, only to watch it smash to the ground in an instant. My feeble attempts to rebuild are slow and agonising. I can’t seem to get the spacing right, or the balance, and the blocks suddenly feel much heavier and awkward to handle. Each time a layer or two is in place, it comes crashing down again.

One step forward, three steps back!

Three people live in the house of blocks. Three people who cannot sleep, who are moody and who all feel depressed and increasingly desperate for some relief. Anger emerges from one of those people. Defeat from another. Deep depression from the third. All feel life is too hard, dark and ugly.

Light dangles in front of those people, teasing them with hope. Promising something brighter and better in the future. But then the light is snatched away, leaving them in darkness again. To crawl about, defenceless and blind.

One step forward, three steps back!

Haven’t those people suffered enough? No! The world believes there is never enough suffering and piles more pressure onto their shoulders. The world wants to see how long it is before they break. How long it is before they submit. Three sets of shoulders can carry a lot. The world knows it. It’s not the world’s fault that the people don’t know this too. Stupid people.

Darkness continues to fill their dreams. Conflict rages war between their minds and their hearts. Sorrow saps the tiny remnants of energy their bodies are able to build up during the few meagre hours of sleep they get each night. Common sense can see through the pain, but emotions are the ultimate ruler.

One step forward, three steps back!


2 thoughts on “One Step Forward, Three Steps Back

  1. ((((Karen))))

    I have often felt like this too. I put it in different terms – that the whole of me was taken and smashed on the floor into thousands of pieces. Where to begin to pick those pieces up? There are so many of them. The analogy is slowly developing in my mind. Now I don’t think that ALL of me was smashed up. A large part of me was smashed up. I have to find a way to pick those pieces up and stick them back on. Some of them keep falling off until I can find the right type of glue. Some are smashed to dust and I will never be able to stick them back on. They need to be swept up but for the moment I have no broom. I will have to learn how to get along without them.

    I’m no artist but a few months ago I also drew a picture of myself in a dark tunnel, alone, with no map and no idea how long the tunnel is. But there’s a sign saying “No U-turn”. The only way out is forward. There are dead-ends, you just don’t know where they are. The other two people in your house are in their own separate tunnels. If only you could just be in the same tunnel together, it would be less lonely. But it’s not possible.

    I think that the light you speak of does really exist. It’s not an illusion. But you’re still in the tunnel and so you only get glimpses of the light before it goes all dark again.

    Christmas is a time for families and celebrations. It’s going to be a very tough time – the first time without Barry. I am thinking of you and send you much love.

  2. Your words made me cry. I felt your pain and sorrow, and I felt your understanding too. I cried because I don’t want another person to feel what I’m feeling, yet I’m relieved that I’m not alone.

    I will allow myself to think that when the light disappears, I’m wandering down the wrong tunnel. As you said, I can’t double back, but this detour will lead me back to the light eventually. I just have to be patient.

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