Unstuck: How to Get Free When Life Makes You Stuck
By: Janiece Renee
This morning, I decided to stop by my office to get some work done. And if any of you know me at all, then you know that my office is none other than the aesthetically pleasing coffee shop internationally known as Starbucks. Honestly, I spend so much time here that when I tell my friends that I’m going to “the office,” they know that what I’m really saying is that I’m going to Starbucks.
As I pulled into its little parking lot, I noticed an older lady standing up against the hood of her car. “I hope she’s okay,” I silently thought to myself. I would soon find out that she wasn’t exactly doing okay on this fine morning. As I got out of my car, she called out to me and asked me to come to help her.
I walked over to her without a second thought as my theory had been confirmed by her plea. As I approached her, I noticed what her problem was. She had gotten her shirt stuck in the latch of her car’s hood. After giving me permission to go into her car to release the hood, we noticed that she was still stuck. For some reason, her shirt had gotten twisted around the latch and we could not get her loose.
We tried everything we could. I even went back into the car and tried releasing the hood again. No success! Although the latch released, her shirt remained stuck. We were able to open the hood enough to get our fingers underneath it. But it seemed as though nothing we tried worked.
Just then, an older gentleman got out of his car and the woman I had been helping called out to him with the same plea that brought me over to her. We explained to him what happened and how we couldn’t seem to get her unstuck. We told him that although we’d made a little bit more progress together, we still needed help. He responded with readiness. Putting his hands under the hood, he felt the issue for himself and understandingly acknowledged our predicament - sis was STUCK.
But, alas, after moving his hands around under the opening of the hood, he was able to release the latch and open the hood entirely. Together, we were able to get sis unstuck and it revealed something important to me.
Sometimes in life, we find ourselves getting stuck in situations that we cannot seem to get ourselves out of. You know what you’re IT is. Maybe it was a toxic relationship. Maybe it was a discouragement. Maybe it was laziness. Maybe it was contentment. Maybe it was financial trouble. Whatever your IT is, we’ve all been stuck before.
Sabonfu Somé says that, “When we fail, the work of coming back into grace is something we cannot accomplish by ourselves; it requires the participation of others…as an individual falls out of grace, so will the other members of the community…” (Falling out of Grace, 23-25). The grace that she speaks of deals with the way in which we show up in the world which includes our full inclusion within our community.
We often convince ourselves that “stuck” requires isolation. We think that “stuck” is a situation that we must handle on our own. We either don’t want people to know what’s going on or we convince ourselves that we don’t want to be a burden to our community. But…what’s the point of a community if we cannot hold each other’s truth? And the truth is, there are just some situations where it takes a community to get unstuck.
Today, I invite you to reflect. Where do you feel stuck? And how can you lean into your community to help you become unstuck?
Follow Janiece on IG @jayreneeiam