Have you ever been in over your head?
Or thought you were?
Because I am going to show you how those are two different things.
I’ve got a lot of kids and they all still live at my house. Therefore, I too have days where I feel in over my head.
Let me tell you about this one time, many moons ago, when I really was in over my head.
When my Sweet and I first got married, I was eager to discover the previously unknown-to-me joys of farm life.
There were the machines and the carts of corn and the smell of dirt. It was all fascinating and I took it all in like a kid.
At age twenty, I practically was a kid. Sorry twenty-year-olds, but it’s true.
With no job and no kids, I spend a lot of time bonding with my Farmer. (Cue the warm fuzzies.)
A few months in, on a warm summer day, I followed my Sweet to investigate a problem. A field was flooded and curiously, the water wasn’t just standing, it was running. Like a shallow little creek.
Enamored, I waded right through the heart of a spontaneous river.
How cool was this? It feels great! Where is all this water coming from? Sweet? Why are you walking way over there? Come on in, the water’s…
And in a split second, I went from walking in wonder, to being in over my head.
Gasping, I tried to make sense out of my situation.
I was treading water in the middle of a CORN FIELD!
Sweet Husband was no help, bent at the waist, also gasping for air. The sight of his wife’s floating head was too much for him and he hit the dirt, choking on his own laughter.
I managed to pull myself out of the hole. Independently. By myself. Alone.
I was stunned.
The truth was eventually revealed: a water pump had burst underground and the high pressure of the water had created a secret and deep hole, camouflaged by the sturdy dirt surrounding it.
The reason my Sweet was walking around the creek was because he had weathered this water before. He might not have known about the five-foot hole but he knew enough not to trust the ground.
Why he didn’t share that information with his new bride is tabled for another time. On a therapist’s couch.
How about you? Have you ever been surprised by stress that suddenly sunk you? Don’t you find the sneak attack especially debilitating?
If I would have read the signs, I would have chosen my steps differently and avoided the plunge. (Although it’s quite a gut-buster to tell our kids now.)
I think I miss hints in my today life. Maybe we are all prone to ignore the flashing lights of stress and keep walking like everything is normal. Finding our heads barely above liquid, we tread water, desperate to get back to sturdy ground.
I don’t know what your tell-tell signs are. But I know mine.
Maybe the next time you grab a pen to fill in your calendar squares or make an energy commitment to someone, I hope you remember the lesson of my floating head and make wiser choices than I did on that hot summer day.