Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Holding the Ladder

I once entertained myself with a grand fantasy of fully embracing my creative side.  This fantasy turned into a desire and then a distressing need while I was working with bleach and scouring pads in college dorm rooms.  When ninety degree heat, harsh chemicals and sleep deprivation combine, they have an affect on the brain!  Sometimes I found myself believing that it would be possible to make a living by sitting in a quiet room with my thoughts, making something.  Somewhere in this fantasy I was also writing something instead of letting those important insights and epiphanies fly to the moon, lost forever.

I am here now.  In the quiet room, making something.  Writing something.

My husband is supporting me.

I think he would do that until the end.

He's holding my ladder.

I once listened to a preacher who told a story about his personal journey to success.  He described himself as a go getter.  A man of action.  He worked long hours and over committed himself.  In college he soared.  In his professional life, he did everything he set out to do, and then some.  Then came a time when his parents began to need more help.  They came to stay with him for a while.  On his way out to an important meeting, he passed an alarming sight:  his elderly father was up on a ladder with no one to support the base.  Knowing that it would make him late, or possibly miss the entire appointment, he stopped to hold the ladder for his father.  The task took a long time.  The need to burst out the door to make even a portion of the meeting was brewing in his gut.  It was difficult to pause and reflect on priorities.  Later, that moment became a significant metaphor for an ethical path: sometimes in life, you just have to hold the ladder.

I've been thinking about what motivates me now.  I was once motivated by a fantasy.  A daydream.  A dream which I acted upon and a dream which became a reality. Perhaps it is a consequence of my childhood in the country, but my ideal working conditions involve a feeling of personal safety, peace and contact with nature.  I can have all of that now.  But realizing that I dreamed my way into reality, I'm finding that it's important to keep dreaming.   To keep evaluating what I hope for.  To ask questions. Do I need more money or more time for walks, books and projects with Elliot?  Usually in the end, I choose time. 
Time to hold a ladder....

I choose time so that I'm not the only one who gets to be creative.    On a rainy day, in the middle of the busiest season for Knees and Paws, I stopped sewing long enough to help Elliot make an Ewok Village out of various gathered materials.  I know I'll remember this more than I will the number in the bank account. 

Was there a time when someone held a ladder for you? 


  1. Hi there Jenny. That was a beautifully written post my friend. I love that expression, "sometimes in life you just have to hold the ladder." I will remember that. I must admit that I do try to live my life like that, but it's easy for me now, because I'm retired, and the family are grown (although I have my cute little grandchildren of course!!). It was harder to "hold the ladder" when I was younger, because, as you well know, so many other things were going on. My youngest daughter has the two little ones, aged 3 and 22 months, and she took the decision to stay home and look after them until they at least start school. They don't have any money, and I really do admire her so much for what she is doing. There will always be time for other things, but no-one can ever take this time spent with the little ones away from her. Sorry I've rambled on a bit!! Hugs.

  2. totally awesome! you put so much into perspective. i just love coming to your blog and i look forward to the inpiration i receive.

  3. You are an inspiration Jenny and I always feel better after reading your blog. As Thisisme mentioned about her daughter, my youngest, Rachel is also staying at home with my two grandsons who are 3 & 5. I know it will mean so much to them as they grow and I am proud of her too. Of course she is having to look after them in a wheelchair now so life can be tough. I loved that picture of Elliot. Take care & have a great rest of the week.

  4. This was beautiful. My husband and I take turns holding the ladder for each other every day. I don't know what I'd do without the support. Hopefully he feels the same way.

  5. Another compelling post, Jenny! As with you, my husband continually holds my ladder and I know there are times when I am able to reciprocate, although I must add that it's far less frequently, since he's such a capable man. However, as a Mother who elected to stay at home with both of our children, from birth through high school, at the "cost" of losing out on all the extras an additional salary would have provided, I'd still make exactly the same choice, were I to have my time over. Nothing can replace the time you have with your children and the in put you're able to provide on a day to day, and moment by moment basis. Life is not static. Circumstances change and, in time, we have caught up on acquiring many of the materialistic rewards we missed out on earlier.


Search This Blog

Banner and button design by me!