There was a spider, may she rest in peace, that took up residence on my porch. Maybe it’s hyperbole to say that she was the size of my hand with my fingers outstretched, but she was big. One evening, she deposited an egg sack the size of a baseball at the edge of her web. Pest control was called and they relocated her to hell, where she belonged. Her deserted web was like a bungee cord as I tried to knock it down with a broom. It was thick, strong, and resistant to my attempts to detach it from the wall.
I thought to myself, “I would hate to do that thing where you unknowingly walk into a spider web and it stretches around your face, freaks you out, and instills a case of the heebies until you can scrub down in a molten shower with this web!”
I have to imagine the ol’ spider web-to-the-face maneuver is a horror most folks have encountered. It is on this experience I will build my metaphor, because spider webs and obstacles have a lot in common.
They are both doing their thing, with no bone to pick with anyone.
They bear no grudge.
They aren’t biased.
They’re hard to see, but they aren’t really hiding.
Occasionally, they are walked into face-first and must be dealt with.
It isn’t fair or unfair; it just is. Success doesn’t come from a lack of obstacles, but rather in how quickly they are overcome. One cannot judge when they will encounter the next spider web. If they could, they’d never have a problem. A good plan and a good set of skills can minimize the chances, though. Walking where they aren’t, for instance. It is difficult to move forward if one is loitering in an old barn, going from one spider web to the next.
Staying bogged down in obstacles keeps one too busy putting out fires to get ahead. I suggest getting out of the barn at the nearest door. There is a world of one’s choosing outside, in which spider webs are fewer and farther between.
Here’s a start for the barn dwellers: Do things you know you have to do, one at a time, until you are caught up. Also, surround yourself with people who don’t frequent the barn, or the bar. People live up to the standards of the company they keep and the situations they immerse themselves in. It is important to choose those things wisely, in ways in which we are called to be our best selves, not our worst.