Tag Archives: sinking

Still Struggle

cylinderRight now I am trying to be in a place of calm, a place where I can chill out and then handle the chaos of life better. You don’t just get it overnight; you have to work at it. It’s a daily struggle. ~ Jackee Harry

I was in the fifth grade, a scrawny girl with french braids and buck teeth. It was Christmas time, and the class party was in full swing. Cookies and candy canes nestled at the bottom of every slanted desktop in the room. Our cups of red Kool-Aid sat precariously at the edge of the faux wood top next to the metal groove that served as a pencil holder.

Each person had a small gift to unwrap, a gift from an anonymous giver who pulled a name from the hat two weeks before. I unwrapped my package to find an odd, corn-paper cylinder.

“Put your fingers in it,” a classmate instructed.

I placed a finger in each end of the red and green braided tube.

“Now pull them out.” Giggles ensued.

I pulled my fingers away from each other and the plaits of paper pulled tighter, holding me prisoner in their grasp. I twisted my fingers. Nothing. I pulled quickly. Nothing. I tugged and yanked trying to wrench my fingers free, but the more I wrestled, the tighter the paper clung to me.

In fear I looked up.

“Relax and pull gently,” she said.

I slowly slid each finger out of the tube.

I stick my fingers in parenting tubes, writing cylinders, and friendship chambers. I pull, twist, tug, and yank. The bonds pull tightly, strangling me in their grip. The harder I try to figure it out, the more desperately I become trapped. I struggle like a child in a Chinese finger trap.


Listening to the Father’s voice, I let go of the struggle, the fear, the prison . . . and I am freed.

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Matthew 14:30-32