Once upon a time there was a pretty cute princess who usually ate all her vegetables and laughed loudly at fart jokes. She spent lots of time laughing and smiling and loved to give hugs. Like most people, as she journeyed through life she occasionally hit a roadblock. “Hmm,” she would say to herself. “How do I get past this?” After lots of thinking and frustrating attempts, she would prevail, and continue on her way, still smiling. Travelers occasionally joined her for part of the journey, enchanted with her happy ways, before bringing a similar joy to others on different roads. Eventually, though, another roadblock would appear. Still, the princess knew she could get past this one, too. She would think and think and try and try and again, she would eventually prevail. Sometimes she would go for miles without hitting a single road block, sometimes she would hit two or three. Once in a while, though, she would hit dozens and scores one right after the other. The princess never knew when she got past one road block if there would be another block or open road in front of her. She worked through each one, smiling all the while. But after four or five roadblocks, her smile would start to look forced. Soon it would become more of a wince, reacting to passing a roadblock with fear of the next rather than pleasure at solving the problem. Finally it will become a snarly grimace. The princess knew this wasn’t a good thing, but she couldn’t help it. After all those roadblocks, she was mad! Even when the road was clear, she would be so sure a roadblock would appear that she ended up sitting in the road waiting for them.
Then another traveler would come upon her, stubbornly sitting in the lane. “Why aren’t you traveling on your way?” he or she would ask the princess. “It is a beautiful day to be traveling, and the road is smooth! Walk with me!” Sometimes it would take some effort on the part of the traveler, but the princess would always get back up again and continue walking. Soon she would be smiling and laughing again. She knew she would be able to handle all challenges that came her way. Then, just when she was feeling confident, she hit another series of roadblocks. They aren’t big, and she can climb over them or go around them, but there are so many her smile started to slip again. The roadblocks got bigger. As she climbed to the top of an especially difficult one, she caught a glimpse of a ladder leading down the other side. “At last! A way to cope with all these blocks and still remain myself!” She thought. She scrambled up the last few feet and reached out to the ladder, only to knock it down. “That’s okay,” she would think to herself, “when I climb down I will be able to grab the ladder and continue on my way.” And she would carefully climb down, pleased that an end to her troubles was in sight. But once she got down, she would find that she couldn’t lift the ladder, and even if she could have, the roadblocks aren’t towering walls keeping her from continuing, but deep chasms in the road. Some were narrow and she could jump across them easily. Some were wide, and she tried to jump across them, but more and more often started falling down into them. She would climb out of them, on her own or with help from passing travelers, but each time it took more and more effort.
Soon she found she didn’t want to climb at all. Travelers called down to her “Just climb up! You can do it!” but when she would try, she would slip back down the wall again. “I promise you can make it up! I have done it!” others shouted to her. “You aren’t the type to give up!” they would cry. She watched them, there at the edge of the chasm, as they waved, and pointed at ropes that were just a bit too short, and offered to get ladders only to reappear saying they couldn’t find any but they would see the princess soon, farther down the road. The princess would stay at the bottom of her chasm, alone. Then, one day, something would happen. Sometimes it was small, like a mole burrowing right through the wall of the chasm, leaving a tiny pile of dirt on the floor. Sometimes it was big, like an earthquake. Either way, the princess would see the dirt piled up and decide to fill in the chasm with the dirt from it’s own walls. soon instead of a chasm, she would be in a ditch, then a pothole, then a bit of a dip, then finally level with the road again (though the road is no longer quite as high as it was.) The princess couldn’t make the moles burrow into her chasm or the earth quake and shake dirt down, no matter how she wished she could, so sometimes she was in the chasm for only days and sometimes she was there for months.
The princess met other travelers whose roads also had walls and chasms, and they would talk to her about how they got out, and sometimes when she was in a chasm, she tried the methods they shared with her. Sometimes they helped, sometimes they didn’t, and each chasm was a different problem. Sometimes no moles or earthquakes would come, and no friendly advice was effective. The princess would spend what seemed like forever in a chasm. Then one day she would suddenly be on the road again, with no warning. And sometimes she would be at the bottom of a chasm without hitting the roadblocks first, or even experiencing the fall.
I’m in a chasm.