Locked In

Last week, at around 4:45 AM on the morning of my birthday, I went to open the front door to be ready for my sister to drop off a few groceries, as I hadn’t been out in almost two weeks.

The door handle was stuck, though.   I could hear the clunk of breaking metal as I tried to force it.

I had installed that hardware on the door and the hardware before that.   I remembered the rush as I had to make a quick run to Wally to get it closed as my mother was squawking about being chilly.

With a screwdriver I pulled the handle off and saw the latch mechanism was seized up somehow.   I pulled and twisted at it, but it never moved.

By the time my sister showed up, just after 5 AM, I was already trying a hacksaw blade in the frame of the door, but the steel core on the latch made that a real challenge.

It’s a week and a half now, and I have pulled the hinge pins, used stiff wire and putty knives, but the front door is still frozen shut.   I can get out through the garage, like I have when I had to take care of my sister, but I am still locked in.

The symbolism of  physically having to fight my way out of this edifice and failing to do so is not lost on me.    The scene was out of a film, laden with pathos, frustration and irony, with me locked in and with my sister outside, pulling my father’s tools to try and solve a problem,

I was told last night that “sometimes the teacher is not a good student.”  Teachers learn from their own failures, their own suffering, taking things that came hard for them, that they learned the hard way, and share them.

Success isn’t the best teacher.   If we could just succeed from the original lessons we had, we would have no reason to go beyond that original teaching.

Teachers, it is true, often tend to share the same things over and over again, missionaries in the classroom, preparing students for routine.

Gurus, on the other hand, want to teach how to learn, offering not just help desk answers but rather sharing concepts and structures that bring tools which transform the thinking of another.   Turning on the light means revealing the bigger picture, not just learning to follow the answer key.

My struggles are my path and my process.

Apparently, now I have to struggle to open the door and get out of here.