I have a loft office, which is so wonderful, and I have to admit there are many days I don't want to come down from the loft to do menial things like cook or tidy the house. The challenge with a loft office, with a beautiful winding wooden staircase up to it, is furnishing it. I got a second hand desk this weekend, which was very exciting, until we thought of the practicalities of getting this large “L” shaped desk up the winding stairs into my office. There were 4 guys (the brawn) and me, and I must say there were a few in the party who thought it was an impossible task. Once we realised it didn't come apart, it was either try the impossible or take the desk back.
I must say, I do love a challenge, a task that seems impossible. I love giving it a try, especially when someone says it can’t be done. I planned to be the photographer and capture whatever was about to happen, as I was ready for anything, but that was not to be so as we needed all hands on deck.
It might be hard for me to describe to you, to impart the full impact of this task, but I will give it a try. When the boys first walked in, they thought we were mad for even considering the task, and like most things if it is not your own experience, the impact is not there as it was for us.
It’s a funny thing when you are faced with what seems an impossible task. It is interesting to see different people’s reaction to the problem. We all worked together well and listened to each other, there were many silly comments flying around, ropes being tied to places and many theories being discussed. We finally decided to give it a go and use the open cavity that a winding staircase creates to lift the desk into, balancing it and sliding it all the way up on the railings. (Note to self - when sliding a heavy desk along a wooden railing, best to put towels or something to protect the wood. Oh well, just the beginning of the casualties that were about to occur).
Once we had reached the limit of the boys’ arms, standing on chairs, on the lower level, to hold the desk in the free airspace, there was a little element of panic. We had navigated the first corner and now had the desk balancing on the railings, hanging in the air with no way to hold it from underneath, which left a couple of us on the second level holding it from above. It was now wedged in the air, with someone tying it off against the railing, and we still had another 180 degree turn to do with an “L” shaped desk. It was literally like playing the game of “Tetris.” I was wedged in the corner, holding my end and thought if I could open the window, and stick my end out of the window, it might make more space for turning, I pulled the screen off, it dropped to the ground and I opened the window to get a little movement, but it was not enough.
I could see the scrapes on the walls, the dents in the railings and my husband with sweat pouring down his face and a look of “this is not going to happen”. My son was getting some tools to take off a part of the railing and the rest of us were all simply holding the desk so it didn't fall to the floor below, taking out the railings and Dave’s little wine cellar directly below us. It is in these moments that what we do next really counts. How do we handle this situation? What next? I must say while Sam was taking off the railing, it gave us all 5 -10 minutes break. Although we were still holding the desk, it wasn't heavy, and we were all able to take a breath, give it some space, think a little and even laugh a little about the situation we had got ourselves into. I quickly asked someone to take a few pictures, as I knew a blog was forming out of this experience, whatever the outcome.
At this stage putting the desk back down was going to be just as challenging as trying to turn it. Considering the situation, we were all quite calm on the outside. I would have loved to know the thoughts of everyone. I think I know the thoughts of my husband, though not sure if I would have liked to hear them out loud at the time. But for me, I was standing there, thinking, “we can’t go back, we have come so far, there has to be a way. This will be so disappointing if we can’t solve it!”
Well, I think time and space is always a good thing, a little rest and a place to re-qroup. We got towels for the next set of railings (we learned from our first mistakes) and started again to move and wiggle and turn the desk. Finally when we thought it was just not going to happen, one of the guys simply said, “surely if we turn this way, it should just slide in,” and as we did, no one could quite believe what we were seeing. The desk simply slid right through the door and into my office.
We jumped around the room in celebration. We couldn't believe we had done it some were still in shock and disbelief. The final step seemed so easy, we couldn't believe what had just happened. Within minutes we had gone from being completely stuck with no hope to the task being solved so simply.
It required team work, listening to each other, a few casualties along the way, a time to rest, re-group, space to step back and look at the problem from different angles and then sheer determination and commitment. What seemed Impossible, ended up being possible and the experience finished with a great sense of achievement in the end.
My favourite verse is Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”, but I know that this task had nothing to do with this verse and to quote it would be to lessen the promise of its real meaning. Not even “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26) is correct, although I have to admit they are the first things that come to my mind when I think about this experience. But, I know that the moment we found ourselves in the “impossible thinking” place, was the vital time which made a difference to the final outcome. We can quote all the Bible verses in the world, but in the end, it is our frame of mind (and God certainly helps us in this space), the importance of others, the value of listening to others and of doing our best without panicking whatever happens, which leads to things that seem impossible at the time, actually happening. And the more we experience this, the more we see that is possible, in all aspects of life.
I know that a common saying I speak out all the time to my kids and in leadership is “There must be a way.” I wish I could say it to myself more often, but I do believe your frame of mind makes a difference to what is actually possible. I am also thankful, that I serve a BIG God, who shows me daily, that what is possible with me, is nothing compared to what is possible with HIM. What is your frame of mind when faced with a challenging task? What stops us from doing the seemingly impossible or more importantly, what helps us face challenges in order to see the impossible happen?