Sometimes We Come Unhinged

A few days ago I was getting my bicycle out of the shed. It’s actually a garage, but a 1928 garage. Today it would fit an oversized lawnmower. Each time I go to the shed and open the old heavy doors it is a test of wills. Will I have the strength to drag the creaking door along the drive? Will it continue the act of opening and closing? I know to accommodate for the shortened opening, a passage which barely fits me and only me with a bike when one of us is in the lead. But this week, it was done. As I pulled it open I soon found I was carrying the entire door, or to be more accurate, the entire door was carrying me backwards toward the ground. The hinge had come disengaged from its anchor.

I was surprised, though I should not have been. The door had been threatening to do just that for some time and who can blame it? The hinges may be original to the house which would make them well into their eighties. I cannot imagine any of us will go eighty plus years without becoming unhinged.

Sometimes that happens. Life tosses us a little too much stress and strain and we dislodge from the instruments that hold us steady. Shouldn’t we allow ourselves a few moments in life where being unhinged is acceptable? It cannot be regular occurrence. That would deem us unreliable by our own assessment and that of others. But every now and then, it might feel good to just unscrew the thing that holds us in place and let go.

The curious thing is once we cut loose we may notice that our hinges had been wearing down, had become a little rusted, and had been in need of attention. If we release and realign, we can find our way back to the things that keep us steady.

The hinges on my shed are now replaced and the door swings open—fully—and closes too. It does not squeak and it does not moan. I do not know if it will go another eight decades, but I do know that I appreciated all the continuous work it has done and understand completely its need to just let go. Now it is refortified and does what all good hinges should—provide stability while allowing free movement.

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