Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Weight Against the Door

Sometimes it seems to me that we forget we're alive. I do. I forget. It's so subtle. How does that happen? Familiarity breeds complacency I guess.

And yet, I'm not complacent. Not really. And I don't know anyone else who isn't struggling at times either.

I think of it this way. I grew up with older brothers. They shared a room, yet I had my own. Sometimes I had to keep one or the other (or both) from entering my room to do any or all of the things brothers sometimes so callously do to each other: steal, bully, intimidate.

But my room was my room, my safe zone. They weren't allowed. So I would bar the door with my weight on my side and one (or the other) would push from the outside. Eventually we would grow weary and then sit with our backs against each other, the door between us. Equally stubborn and competitive, neither wanted to be the first to surrender and thus that pressure, that strain against the door, that burden became familiar.

Bills. Family problems. Work stress. Uncertainty. Changes. These are the familiar burdens now. So we do what we can under the circumstances. We manage. We cope with the strain and eventually, it seems no wonder to me that we get so familiar with coping we may even forget why we're leaning so hard and maybe even what we're leaning against. It's just the cumulative weight of the world on the other side of the door. Like Atlas, we endure.

But this interferes with truly living.

And then something happens.

Might be good: suddenly the weight on the other side of the door shifts and there's an opening inside, we see anew. Might be bad: and we are forced to open the door ourselves.

Either way, I believe this opening is when we suddenly feel alive again, alive enough that we recognize the exertion, recognize the ache, recognize the opening.

And whether it's good or bad, isn't it ultimately still an opportunity? We can invite something into our lives or perhaps go somewhere we haven't gone before. Or sadly we could just choose to remain leaning into the weight against the door.


triles said...

We can invite something in or go somewhere we haven't been-well said. This is a great post man!

Al Penwasser said...

Very thought provoking. You have the gift of a poet!
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

or maybe it can be like when your parents take the hinges off your door and remove it because you slammed it one too many times. And you can't keep anyone out or anyone in. Just full on life. Anyone seen my screwdriver?

DB Stewart said...

@Tim Thanks.
@AP Thank you.
@The C's C Clever! I need to get mine too.

Laoch of Chicago said...

Interesting and thought provoking metaphoric piece. Nicely done.

Antares Cryptos said...

Thought provoking reminder post. We do forget on a daily basis, how "amazing" it is to just be alive.

Very well done, going back to read it again.

Thank you.

Missy said...

Love this!
The Weight Against My Door is about to break the door down!

Cheeseboy said...

This was a post that deserves it's own book. Sometimes that door seems to never opens for me. I think it has one of those latch locks on it.

wendy said...

What a wonderful post.
I think....for me anyway...we spend a lot of ENERGY holding our weight against the "door" trying to keep out those things on the other side that "threaten us".

when, if we'd just take that extra breath and slowly open the door, to really look at whatever weight is behind it.....maybe it wasn't really worth all the energy we were giving it in the first place.
Maybe it's not as bad as we imagined.
things don't just go away...they need meeting head on sometimes.

am I rambling..making any sense. I have lots of thoughts going on in my mind about this post.

The Gaelic Wife said...

I chose the current weight against my door. I know why it's there. Its purpose is the love a mother has for her children. But it's still a heavy load. My weight is also temporary. Therefore it's foremost in my mind of the whys and the hows and the how longs. My weight is the paid working world; my wait is for college graduation.

DB Stewart said...

@LoC Thank you.
@AC Life is amazing isn't it?
@Missy I feel for you.
@Cheeseboy Ha. Way to extend the metaphor.
@wendy Smart comments. No rambling at all. I thought about you when I wrote this.
@TGW Oh I wait for that too and I'm working hard to get my two there as well. I hope yours and mine make it.

manders said...

i've been peeping through the keyhole for a while and i'm getting tired with the limited view. just trying to find a way to open the door.

Molly said...

Super post. Thanks.
I'm really trying to keep those doors wide open, tackle whatever monsters approach them, embrace whatever good spirits fly through them.
Loved the reminder from the C's C - must remember that parental trick when the time comes!

Molly said...

I balderdashed you!

Alistair said...

Sometimes you should pull instead of pushing.

And I like that there's light around the door for 'it's the cracks that let the light in'.....

Kev D. said...


Sometimes we find ourselves putting our weight against the door even if there is no reason too, just because we are so used to it.

There's comfort in the discomfort.

But in general, life truly does kick serious ass.

Kev D. said...

For the record, I didn't catch that I typed an extra 'o' on the 'too' in my last comment.

I am ashamed, because in general, that's one of the things I hate seeing in writing (the wrong 'to').

Please forgive me.

Also, please continue to write such AWESOME posts.

Unknown said...

Great post. I've been feeling this way for about a month. Also, I had two older brothers. So I get the backs against the door thing.

The Defiant Marshmallow said...

This is truly an awesome piece, man. Trying to figure out how to save it as a favorite. You put this so well. Thank you!

michael.offworld said...

It takes effort to even notice the leaning. I find this time of life (45) to be an awakening to what really matters in life. We wake up for a minute, then we go back into the trance of everyday life. When we're awake, we look around and wonder how the F we got here. But the more we try, the further we get. That's the riddle I'm wrestling with: how to stay awake and take that door off it's hinges.

DB Stewart said...

@manders I hope you find it. At least you know you need to.
@Molly Monsters and and good spirits. It would be a good name for a blog.
@Alistair Good point fellow Leonard Cohen fan.
@KevD. "There's comfort in discomfort." Nice paradox.
@Summer Two older brothers is a life sentence isn't it? And a blessing, sometimes too.
@DM Thank you for saying that.
@Michael You totally get it, don't you? We're nearly the same age and I feel that awakening too and then I blink out.

Homemaker said...

Nice, dude.

Alittlesprite said...

Then when you are living with someone with a terminal illness, you are reminded how precious life is every day and you LIVE it God-dammit! I do a big Xena war cry and kick that Mofo door down!

DB Stewart said...

@Homemaker Thank you.
@Alittlesprite I KNEW you were going to say something like that. Awesomeness. You always give me perspective. *grinput smile*

Nicole Leigh Shaw said...

Simply true. And that's why it's so lovely.

Leigh said...

Words and thoughts that hit home right now to remind me to ground and center and live deeply.

You might have said them for you, but they certainly resonate with many.


The Gaelic Wife said...

dbs - Eldest is college freshman, second is high school junior, third is 7th grade. That's nine more years in the paid workforce if Number Three goes private rather than public just like Number One did.

Unknown said...

I really liked reading this. I've been thinking a bit myself about the complacency of life, how we forget how cool it is just to be alive at all. At least I think it's pretty cool. I think it probably beats not existing.

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