It’s like walking along, and suddenly you’re confronted with a rather deep and somewhat wide ditch. Just that little bit bigger than a normal stride would take you over. So you take a few steps back, and attach it with a little bit of enthusiasm and you’re over the ditch without a bother.
Now imagine you’re blindfolded. And somebody else has just spotted the ditch, and said take two steps back and then take a leap at it.
Life can sometimes feel like that. Sometimes we can see the obstacles, sometimes we can’t and we need somebody else to say wait a minute, back up. Take a step back and you’ll be able to get through the obstacle. The problem is, we can hear the first part of the message, and then stop listening.
So we step back. From relationships, from commitments, from our hopes and dreams. And we forget that that is only the first part of the process. We get stuck on stepping back, when we should be stepping back to step up. (I know – I’ve done it.)
Stepping back to step up has reaped great rewards in my life recently. The in-laws are still with us, and over their visit I have been stepping back. Listening. Watching. Trying to make my home as much like their home as I can. Which means I haven’t been jumping up to serve them tea, or been making them brilliant midday meals. I have moved things around in my kitchen to make it easier for them to reach the stuff that they need. And I’ve not been compulsive about the whole milk in the fridge thing, which was, I admit, probably the hardest part of all. (I come from a hot country, alright?)
But it was the party for The Dude’s Dad’s significant birthday today. The week has been scattered with conversation about his favourite things. So even though he said he didn’t want us to make a fuss, he seems to like a bit of a fuss. So I bought party hats and streamers. We made a cake. Made a giant pile of fluffy mashed potatoes just the way he likes them. And my special two-day gammon. We bought a fruitcake, because that’s the kind he actually likes).
Everybody had a fantastic time, because I stepped back and chose to use my energies to find out what he wanted, and implementing that, rather than doing the kind of party I thought he would like. (Which would have had balloons, but no streamers. Or fruitcake.)
As an added bonus, I also understand my in-laws better. Bonus.