I said that, in all it’s various forms-including: “No, go ahead.” and “No, Really. You first.” Approximately 6.3 million times during MOPS International Convention. It wasn’t because I am nice. (I’m not. But, I try. Sometimes. And, it certainly wasn’t at the doors before general sessions. (I have been around long enough to know to duck and cover when those doors swing wide. Imagine a stampede of 2000 moms unencumbered by strollers or diaper bags… they. can. run. You over. No need to let them by- they pass you by. Those mommas are on a mission.)
Nope- mostly it was at the top and bottom of escalators, at the convention center.
My neck brace caused an inability to see both my feet and the escalator’s steps at the same time unless I leaned foreword far enough for gravity to take over my body like an alien and propel me headfirst towards the escalator’s always moving, metallic, maw of death. Which sounds even less terrorizing than it was.
Three (or more) steps would roll by. Shining and toothy as a shark’s teeth, as I tried to time my step. Just. Right.
Three moms would go past, as I tried to play off my fear as politeness, maybe even humility. “You first.”
Which really meant:”I’m totally gonna try and to follow you so I don’t fall and lose digits or end up with a shark-like escalator chomp out of my face. So go ahead… you first. I’m right behind you- possibly holding onto your tote bag”
Which was kind of a workable plan-except, it was still hard to go ahead and take that step. The one from the stable platform to the moving escalator. Even when I was following right behind a totally confident and capable escalator operator. (AKA: a mom- but “escalator operator” sounded considerably more official and sesame street like- so I’m leaving it’s irrelevant self right there.) Side note: Women don’t like you grabbing their tote bags and dragging them backwards on an escalator cause you’re rooted in fear…probably. I mean, I’m assuming.
The thing is- I could SEE where I was going- the top or bottom of the escalator was in my line of view, even with the neck brace of doom. I also knew I was right there on the edge- in the right place heading the right direction. I just couldn’t be sure I was taking the right step at the right time.
It paralyzed me.
I didn’t miss anything due to elevator angst. The paralysis only felt like it lasted forever. It actually just lasted until I’d built up a nice cushion of moms both before and aft- that I imagined would catch me if I fell, and lift me up over their heads to invent some cool new escalator crowd surfing thing that could either: A) Kill me or B) Make me internet famous. (Which would also probably kill me. The internet has trolls, they are killers and do not stay under bridges. You’ve been warned.)
What’s the point? (Other than I’m experiencing post- MOPS Convention exhaustion that could be affecting my writing today? (Shh I know what you’re thinking… what was last weeks excuse? Or next weeks? No worries, I’m working on a list …)
The point is- sometimes you have to take the next step. Even if you can’t see your feet and fear being eaten by an escalator. (Please note: the longer you entertain fear- the bigger it’s nightmare like story gets… we’ve moved from few of losing digits to internet trolls to being digested by machinery….)
You could stand there on the edge, watching the steps go by. Watching others pass, while you look very polite, but never get anywhere.
I vote you give it a try. Even in my broken, messed up and neck braced condition- I managed to make it to my sessions- and meetings. Most of them even on time.
I’m pretty sure that as long as you’re going in the right direction and keep yourself surrounded by others moving in the right direction…….you’ll get where you’re headed. Either way- if you do take a tumble, you’ll be caught by those who surround you. (The terms “Caught” and “land on,” are pretty much synonymous here.)
But, I’ll warn you- it probably won’t be quite as cool as crowd surfing. Trust me. As a leader, wife, woman and a mom, I’ve taken plenty of falls while heading in the right direction….the key is the cushion….and the fact that elevators have a tendency to keep moving even if you fall down on one. Once you land- you still be moving in the right direction.
Which I kind of think works the same in faith and life journeys…..God’s sovereignty keeps moving us forward even when we crash.
Psalm 37 (read the whole thing, it pretty much rocks- even if you don’t have anyone persecuting you.)
The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
So….what’s your next step? A spot in leadership that needs you to step in? A phone call you need to make? A question to ask? A project to finish? A dream to follow?
What direction are you heading in? Is your phase of mothering changing? Are you starting to think it might be necessary to step into the workplace to make ends meet, fulfill a call, or meet some goals? Do you want to walk closer to/with God?
You don’t have to be like me standing at the top of the escalator paralyzed with fear of taking the wrong step…. the truth is…steps will keep rolling up and moving on…. God knows that we (I) often need time to catch (or hold) our breath before we can make the next move. I think He gives us plenty of opportunities. He’s awesome like that.