I was a new employee for a relocation company. We worked with local apartment communities to set up short term, furnished units. It was my job to meet with apartment managers and convince them to use our furniture rentals. Back then no one had camera phones. I am torn between wishing there was an image and being thankful there is no lingering evidence of this awkward moment. The event is forever ingrained in my memory regardless.
Because I was still in training, my manager accompanied me to several of my visits to apartment management offices. One particular apartment community was nestled in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. The buildings definitely fit the “old” aspect of Old Town. What were once some sort of row house, were converted into apartments and condos. The management office was on the first floor of the brick, colonial structure.
As my manager and I entered the dimly lit office the first thing I noticed were the floors. They were beautiful parquet, stained by obvious years of use and moisture. They looked antique and fit nicely with the very traditional burgundy and green hunt club décor, popular for the area and time. I was dressed for success in my black pumps and KELLY green suit jacket and skirt. (It was my “power suit” and yes, SOMEONE should have stopped me from wearing it in public, but that is another story) I felt confident as I teetered toward the property manager on my high heels and introduced myself.
Things were going great. I had established a comfortable report with the manager, and was about to begin my sales pitch, when, mid-sentence and stride, I found my foot stuck. Apparently the weathered floors in the office had given way to the spiked heel of my fashionable black pumps. I glanced down in horror. My entire right heel disappeared into a tiny little hole. I tried to pull my foot up, but it was stuck. I looked up, ready to apologize profusely, when it occurred to me, nobody else in the room knew what happened. My manager was focused on our prospective client, and the prospective client sat behind a large desk. There I was, one heel firmly planted and unmovable, trying to pretend nothing had happened. I continued to talk and pitch my product and services all while simply pivoting around my stuck heel. When I had finished my pitch, and thankfully before I was going to need to move forward and hand him our material, he received a call and had to step out for a moment.
Here is what you NEVER want to say to your new boss, “PSSST, my foot is stuck in the floor!” I will never forget the look in her eyes as she surveyed the situation. I actually saw her various mood changes all within a few seconds….disbelieving, incredulous, and then panicked. I took my foot out of my shoe and she and I both began to frantically tug on it. It was like scene out of “I Love Lucy”. I know it was only a few minutes, but it felt like we worked on that stupid shoe for hours. She and I both had worked up a sweat before the heel sprung free. I was barely able to stay upright as the release set me off balance. I quickly put my shoe back on while my boss surveyed the damage. I am embarrassed to admit, our solution to the problem involved pulling a nearby rug over the small hole. The property manager returned just as we were finished with our recovery effort.
You will be happy to hear I have never found myself stuck like that since, but I cannot say I have been “stuck free”. I have indeed been seemingly, hopelessly, stuck in life… discouraged, adrift.
I may appear to be moving, pivoting in place, but I am not moving forward. I settle instead of seek. I sit instead of search. I become immovable….missing what God has for me, just STUCK.
I have been reminded this last week of a very effective way to become unstuck. PERSPECTIVE. Perspective will sometimes not only un-stick you, it will throw you against the wall and completely realign all you do.
Our dear friend’s daughter is fighting the final battles against her war with cancer. After chemo and surgery, they thought she had overcome the devastating tumor that attacked her body. Unexpectedly, it has returned and is not operable. She and her husband, alongside their family and friends, are courageously facing their continuing journey, treasuring every minute, every day, mindful of each breath. I see her great smile, hear echoes of the many times we heard her belt out karaoke, her bellowing laughter, quick wit, honesty, faith and passion for life, family and friends and I am humbled. They now face each day knowing there is not a guaranty of time. It is not lost on me that none of us face each day with a guaranty of time.
My perspective is rattled to the core. I am UNSTUCK.
“Every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”