The padlock

Two Fridays ago, I was walking the dog in an unusually quiet park. I only saw one other dogwalker and they were heading out as I went in. The sun was beginning to set, but there was still more light than shadow.

When the park keeper’s van drove round the outer lane I thought nothing of it. There was still a jogger in high vis lapping the pitches. When the van drove past a second time I just thought, oh he’s forgotten something. BUT THEN I walked back to the gate and it was, you’ll never guess (of course, anyone with a whit of sense would) padlocked. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t panicking. My legs were running out of strength, my dog was confused and I was already imagining a night on the park bench. The jogger knew a squeeze-through-a-hedge way out but I wasn’t convinced.

Anyway, I phoned a rescuer and it all ended up ok- the farthest gate is always open. Since then, I’ve been seeing that padlocked gate in my mind’s eye, and philosophising.

When your way is barred, or your life is turned on its head what do you do? In the park I was very glad I had my dog with me. I also sought help from someone in there and from someone outside. When you’re stuck, it can be reassuring to know both those kinds of people- one who has been there, but also one who knows the way out.

When I saw that padlock, I forgot about the peaceful park, the silver light behind me. All I could see was a blocked way out.

I’ve been thinking about all the children who got their transfer results the day after that incident. Some of them will now have their dream of a favourite school padlocked. It will seem that their life is over. But it’s not. There is another path, and it might even be better.

I’m sure you have felt like that, or are standing still with your way blocked at the moment.

Just don’t forget there are joggers.

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