I love my bunch of writers. I love how we’re different and yet so similar. I love how we agree to trade cilantro for bacon. I love that we’re funny. And serious. I love that we span all interests, decades and walks of life.
We say: yes.
One of my greatest fears descended upon me last weekend.
And I lived to tell the tale.
(Okay, not barely).
My friend and I went over to a neighboring city on Saturday to see another friend perform in a play. The outing was all planned – park here, walk there, a little theater, a little dinner. No boys allowed. She graciously drove us since I assume that whatever direction I’m facing is North (sad, but true) and can’t find my way out of a paper bag. Everything went swimmingly. She pulled into a parking garage and tucked the car into a nice, out-of-the-way spot. Merrily chatting away, we headed over to the elevators and punched the “down” button.
We got stuck in there.
For 75 hours (5 minutes).
It was disgusting and terrible. There is something so profoundly awful about being stuck. I want options. I want to be able to leave whenever I darn well feel like it. So I’ve never liked elevators. Or bridges. Or airplanes. Or that field trip the teacher took us on when I was in fourth grade, the one where we toured a silver mine.
All kidding aside, I went into panic mode approximately 4 seconds after my friend and I realized that we would not be exiting as scheduled. We looked at each other, then at the doors. Words like, “what” and “seriously” slipped from our mouths. She punched the service button or whatever it is, the one that lets you talk to the person with the power to send someone to save you.
Some kind of conversation took place between my friend and the magical man. I just called into the intercom, “Please hurry!”
Then I gripped the rail, the brass one that’s bolted to all elevator walls the world over, and said, “I’m freaking out.”
My friend, bless her, patted me on the arm and told me a funny story about her daughter. She deals with anxiety, too, but managed to keep it together long enough to distract me. I’ll never be able to thank her enough for that.
Some popping and creaking and wondering if we were going to die later, the smallest of cracks appeared between the doors and we could just make out the shape of out rescuer. I yelled, “Get us out of here!” His response? “Give me a minute!”
With no buzz or fanfare, the doors opened and we were met with the blank expression and navy-blue uniform of our skinny, bespectacled, possibly teen-aged savior. He waved us out. We said thanks. I probably should have hugged him. It probably would have gone on too long and I would have creeped him out.
We laughed about it for the rest of the day. We joked that the play had better be good, after all we’d gone through just to get there. When the last notes had faded, the bows made, the clapping finished, the artisan pizza reduced to crumbs, the sweating glasses drained of cucumber water and beer – it was time to go back.
She talked me into it. Talked me into getting back on that thing. Said I could punch her if we got stuck again.
I would have laid aside every one of my pacifist convictions and done so.
But it was fine. We were fine.
Nearly a week later, I mull. I stew. I fret. I get upset thinking about what could have happened. What might yet happen if I ever set foot in an elevator again (which is debatable). I conjure up frightening scenarios. My heart races and the sweat beads on my forehead.
While I will continue to use the stairs whenever possible, I realize that this fear of elevators could keep me from experiencing life. Maybe already has. Not just elevators. Fear of so many things. Stepping aside. Staying behind. Melting into the background.
Saying the timid “no” instead of the courageous “yes.”
I can’t take a trip to the East Coast next year without flying. (Not in a reasonable amount of time, anyway). I can’t tour the buildings and see the views without elevators. I can’t drive around my own town without bridges.
Sometimes the fears come. Sometimes what we dread happens.
Somehow you live and you just keep going.
And I see: What makes a woman – what really shapes her into the best version of herself – is not the times when she falls down. It’s not when she cries or feels afraid.
It’s when she says “yes” and dares.
It’s when she gets back up.
And if she comes up swinging, so much the better.
Yep, longer than five minutes.
24 thoughts on “Five Minute Friday: Yes”
Scary and beautiful and inspiring.
Thank you! I’d prefer to never, ever have this experience again – but it does have me thinking. Good can come out of anything. 🙂
Marie, what a fabulous post. Not the part about being stuck in the elevator, but the part about how we have to take risks to become the best version of ourselves . . . the version God designed us to be. Saying that brave YES, can reduce us to shivering blobs sometimes, but thank goodness God is big enough to walk us through, to strengthen our commitment and to bless us with more of him in the process. 🙂
Loved this. And I’m glad you had a good time.
“Thank goodness God is big enough to walk us through.”
Oh, yes. A million times yes. Any brave I have, any ability I’ve got to withstand the storm comes from Him.
I’m glad I’m not the only one who went over time tonight :). Yes! You’re right! Bravery isn’t doing something big and spectacular–it’s overcoming our fears and saying yes to possibilities.Good for you for saying Yes! to the elevator (and a host of other scary things!).
“Saying yes to possibilities.”
That’s such a huge part of it. You and me and all the others would never type a word if we weren’t willing to say that “yes.” And I’m so glad you do!
It’s so difficult to get over those fears! I remember being in Paris in a very, very stuffed subway with my husband and three kids. The train just stopped. A lady fell back into the horde of people behind as the train screeched to a stop. We were stuck underground in a mass of people. My husband panicked. I had to calm him down. The train finally went on and we got off at the next stop and just walked home. Scenarios like that freak me out. But we keep riding metros, subways, undergrounds, because we love the city life when we get to live it.
Oh, my gosh! I don’t blame your husband for freaking out! I totally would have, too.
I think it’s so cool that you keep on doing those things despite that scary moment. That genuinely encourages and inspires me!
Marie, I’m so glad you are both ok. Fear has a way of paralyzing us. Loved this:”And I see: What makes a woman – what really shapes her into the best version of herself – is not the times when she falls down. It’s not when she cries or feels afraid.
It’s when she says “yes” and dares.It’s when she gets back up.And if she comes up swinging, so much the better.”
Love you, buddy!
I don’t think a hug would have creeped him out.
Some things just speak to our basic fears, and there’s no real arguing with them. I have no problem with heights – I can ride on the skid of a Huey all day (best seat in the house!) but I am NO tunnel rat. I can do it, but hate every second.
Your story does remind me of something – when I was 18 I flew a small aeroplane through a set of 250,000V main transmission lines. It was quite an experience (the first time my throat was ever cut!).when the windshield blew back into my face; rather like looking into the barrel of a shotgun as it goes off. I got ‘instant ugly’. And since the aeroplane was still flying, I had to take it back and land it, while holding bits of myself together.
The next time I flew, I was petrified. When I broke ground, I wanted DOWN. NOW.
It took three years to get past that, to the point where flight became second nature again.
Wow! That’s intense, man. I’m impressed that you ever got back in a plane.
Our community of writers is pretty cool. I love your ability to tell a story. I’ve suffered through anxiety as well and I would act the same way in that situation. I love how you said it’s not when we fall that makes us but getting back up. I say that to myself all the time as a musician, but never translated it into real life. Thank you for this encouraging post! It was a blessing chatting with you last night as well!
Keep playing your song, dear one. Keep playing your song. 🙂
Enjoyed chatting with you as well!
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Sometimes you need more than five minutes – I totally get that! I shuddered when I first read about your experience on FB and once again when I read it here. Not sure how well I’d handle that (five minutes that feels like 75 hours – ugh). I want to say the brave yes with you.
The women of the “yes.” I like it. 🙂
It’s when she says yes and dares. Perfectly said. Some day we’ll talk about escalators. ugh! FMF#54
A bad escalator experience? I can’t even imagine…
What a great story! How easily will give away our power of will to fear. How good it is when we say ‘yes’ to conquering our fear and seeing God gives us strength to live well and courageous! Thanks for sharing these words! Happy Friday to you!
Thanks, Rachel! Happy Friday to you as well!
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May have been longer than 5 minutes, but it was so worth it. I didn’t want to stop reading!! Thank you for the opportunity to giggle a little… and ponder a little. Good stuff.
Oh, thank you! Such a nice compliment. Glad you enjoyed!
Beautifully said 🙂 I cannot add anything else because you said it so eloquently 🙂