I’m a bit of a hoarder on vacation.
I stay so busy all the time at home that I (part consciously and part subconsciously) tend to over-pack. I pack a lot of inflatable items, because obviously, they are so much fun. 😉
One of the most noteworthy, holds six people, with a covered top. Let’s just say it often causes excitement for us and our beach going neighbors.
This particular item takes quite a bit of effort to get it set up.
It also tends to get broken easily. So every year I bring along replacement parts, just in case. This year, as soon as we finally got it anchored in the water (thank you for beach volunteerism, Mandi), we went for a dive. We were gone about 3-4 hours and when we returned, the top had already caved in from a strong rain.
So I did what I always do.
I walked down, grabbed the broken set of poles, and headed up to begin the repairs. This set of poles is probably not meant to be repaired. Each section is a set of individual fiberglass tubes, each about two feet long, strung tightly together with a bungee cord type of string. (much like tent poles)
The repair process involves untying the knot at the end of the section with the broken tube, removing the broken tube, rethreading and tying the new tube. Sounds simple enough. It is, except the little rethreading part.
That part almost gets me every time.
The first six inches or so of string slide so easily into the tube. Then the friction starts. It becomes increasingly more difficult to slide the string into the tube so I have to use my finger for leverage against the outside of the pole and inch the string in, little by little. All the while, the only evidence of progress is the string getting shorter on the outside of the pole. I can’t see how far I’ve come on the inside. Inevitably, there comes a point where the string will not push along any further, even after the leverage trick.
It makes me want to give up.
I look out at the floating cabana in the hot sun and think, maybe my white, freckled skin could survive a week in the beating sun. I quickly realize the foolishness of that notion, so I keep going. At some point I remember that I can shred a long piece of fiberglass off of the broken pole to push inside the tube to shove the string forward. It scrapes my fingers and gets frustrating trying to make it exactly the right size, but it usually works.
As I’m sitting there, drenched in sweat, looking at the end of the pole, watching and waiting to see the end of that string emerge, there’s always a breaking point.
There’s a point I think, It’s never going to happen. It’s not worth it. I can’t keep going. It’s a waste of time. This time, I’m not going to be able to make it work.
Then, the moment of decision arises.
I’ve either come so far and invested so much time that I can’t give up now OR I’ve given so much time and energy to this thing, it’s time to cut my losses. I simply can’t keep going.
Yesterday, I kid you not, I was going to quit. I’d had enough. So I started to wiggle the little fiberglass shred to get it out and… I saw something at the end of the pole. Seriously. It was the string. It was a millimeter away from emerging out of the end of the tube.
Right when I was about to give up.
It took two more nudges before I could grab the end of the string and tie it off. Those last two nudges felt so easy. Almost exhilarating.
I sat there for a minute in disbelief at how close I was to giving up, when I was literally seconds away from making it. The crazy thing is, if I would have quit, I would have never known how close I was. I probably would have been okay with letting it go. After all, it is vacation!
I can’t stop thinking about it.
I know my little encounter with the cabana poles is insignificant in the scheme of real life, but this lesson is real.
What’s going on in your life that is so hard, so frustrating and so seemingly hopeless, that you’re considering giving up?
Maybe it’s a relationship, a job, an illness, a financial situation, or a dream.
Please don’t give up today. Hold on. This little story is for you.
Rest, yes. Breathe, pray, meditate, focus, but don’t quit.
I know it’s really hard. You’re tired and probably sweaty.
Your breakthrough might be a millimeter away.
You’ve got this.
We need you to hold on.
To more love,