The other night I had a dream about an elevator. I was on the ground floor with two friends, waiting to board and ride up to my home near the top of the building. Two women joined us. One was the nurse for the other. The nurse pulled me aside and with gesture, more than word, explained that the other woman was almost a complete invalid and may even wet herself if frightened.
When the elevator doors opened, everyone boarded except the nurse, but I didn’t realize that until the doors closed. “Wait,” I wanted to call. “Who’s going to take care of her?” But the lift was already rising and began to shake violently. For a moment, it occurred to me that we all might fall to our deaths. The incapacitated woman looked completely terrified so, reluctantly, I embraced her and told her she would be okay. We would all be okay. The dangerous rocking continued but as I held her, I knew it really would be okay. As frightening and erratic as the ride was, I knew we would eventually reach home.
When I think about the metaphor of an elevator, I realize that there are many, many elevators in life. You need to take journeys to get to the next levels of your life. I remember as a child, I preferred to ride escalators but that never got me further than the third floor. The safe route won’t get you further in life either. What are the elevators in your life? Change and growth are frightening, even if we are moving on to broader vistas, higher heights. It often feels as if we will plummet to our deaths at any moment (if you’re taking the big chances and really testing your wings.)
Do you have the compassion to embrace yourself — your terrified, inner child, helpless self — with loving arms? Do you have the courage to remind yourself it really will be okay no matter what happens because when you embrace your whole self — even those parts you dislike — you’ve already come home?