The best way out

Are you looking for a way out?

Sometimes I am.

Even today.

I would like a way out of working late into the night.

It makes me feel unsettled and sad to work late, as if there is no distinction between day and night. Which is how it felt when I was nursing my newborn babies and it seemed to me that there was no right side up to my existence for a time.

I would like my task list to grow shorter overnight,

rather than appearing even longer in the morning. I am feeling overwhelmed by juggling balls in the air over my head for so many of hours of the day.

I would like to be lifted up in a peaceful, gentle hot air balloon,

to be dropped off, happily, solidly at my desired destination.

I would like to be productive and peaceful.

I would like to take risks,

yet know exactly how everything will turn out.


But I know that if I want to reap the rewards–

the most satisfying and lovely things in my life–

the best way out is always through.


When I used to live with my old daily companion Depression,

I often felt stuck between wanting to find a way out and needing to walk straight through.

Some days I just really really really wanted to disappear for a while.

I didn’t want to stop existing entirely; I just wanted to go away, until things got a little easier.

Until I had walked through whatever it was that was making me feel frightened and alone.


But there was no way to truly disappear

and still be near those I love.


So I would sometimes climb under my desk or under my bed or into the closet. I would crawl into the farthest corner I could find and curl up into a little round ball. I would close my eyes and try not to think and I would pretend to not be Rachel for a little while.

And I would eventually find the best way out.

But only by going

straight through it.

Last week we rode the Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disneyland.

For those of you who have an innate love for thrilling carnival rides, I need to say the following:

I have always possessed enough naturally-occurring anxiety within my own psyche that I have never needed to seek out additional ways to procure it.

Just imagine every day as if you lived it in the rollicking seat of a roller coaster and you will understand a little of how frightening typical childhood experiences often felt to me.

So…I don’t enjoy scary movies. I watch the news in very small doses. And, I don’t see any reason to seek out experiences that would cost me money to be hurled out into space or shaken upside down. As a result, I have probably only attempted about four roller coasters in my lifetime.

But I am in a less scary place over all these days, so I felt that I could possibly even appreciate the experience this time. Especially with Jeremy near by.

And it wasn’t terrible, as far as scary things go.

Even if getting through it meant that I had to brace my feet solidly on the front of the railroad car, hold on tight to the locking bar, and keep my eyes closed for the entire ride. I held on in the same bracing way, no matter which way the ride threw me, from side to side, front to back, up and down. Even through the twisty turning of my stomach.

And partway through,

Dylan–sensible, wise Dylan–declared to Jeremy (who was his seat mate), that

his stomach was telling him very clearly that he should GET OFF of that ride.

Clever Dylan’s stomach.

But there was only “through.”

After all, we all know that there’s no turning back once the roller coaster takes off down the track.

We came to the end and we were fine, though a little tipsy as we walked around.

Dylan’s stomach continued protesting for a while.

Sensible Dylan’s stomach.

But even Dylan’s tummy had to admit that the only way out of that particular situation was to continue on through.

To the end of the ride.

with love, Rachel

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8 Responses to Through

  1. Tim Griffin March 28, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

    Rachel, powerful post here. Thanks for spelling out some of the “thrill”!

    A question: what would life look like without the days blending into the nights? As a person who has so many ideas myself, I find that work pleasure and family all blend together. And I love it, albeit I run till I have no option but to dissaper, rest and recouperate.

    Integration feels a stronger term for me than balance. “making it all work” by D Allen had some great perspective on this.

    Hoping nothing but the best as you go through! I was encouraged reading this.

  2. Noemi Hedrick March 29, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    Rachel…you are such a talent writer. You take things that all of us feel at one point (or often) and make it sound beautiful if not, poetic. Thank you for sharing your heart and your struggles. We are different and the same…it makes me want to tackle my life.

    Love you.

    • Rachel Greenhouse March 29, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

      Thank you Noemi! Yes, I love the way you stated it: “It makes me want to tackle my life.” So many people are incredibly passive about how they live their lives. We need to tackle our own lives (Note: The imperative is not to tackle other people’s lives, which seems to be a distraction for many people in an effort to avoid facing their own.) With God’s help, I love being an active participant in my own life. xo

  3. tami March 29, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    this was very moving! thanks for sharing!!!
    and I agree….one must go through. but we are NOT
    alone, Praise GOd!!! what a comfort that is!!!

  4. Camille March 29, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    You did it again! You put a voice to what I’ve been feeling for so long and you did it beautifully!! I look for bright spots in my days – thank you for providing me with this one today. I’ve always known that I have to go through things and can’t turn around, and I’ve also come to know that without the lows of the roller coaster ride we can’t appreciate the view from the highs of that same ride! Thank you for this post today!!

    • Rachel Greenhouse March 29, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

      Camille, I feel so privileged to have been the bright spot in your day. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Amy Haley April 12, 2011 at 5:59 am #

    I love the analogy of the roller coaster here. There are some rides in life that we can’t exit from – we find that our money, our power, our influence, can’t stop the experience from happening. But, just as we think to ourselves, “I don’t have the stomach for this”, the ride pulls in abruptly and it is time to get off. We realize that without any other option, we’ve ridden the coaster and made it to the other side.

    • Rachel Greenhouse April 12, 2011 at 6:06 am #

      My sister, this is beautiful. You really should start doing some writing to share with others yourself.

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