The Joy and Despair of ‘Reach’


It’s strange the reactions you can have to a simple word. How that word can go from being a bright and shining joy, to one of despair. I never gave the word ‘reach’ much of a thought; but in hindsight it had been good with me. Myself and reach have got along just fine – until recently.

As a child, I always reached my goals, reached out to friends and loved ones and this was reciprocated.  I might have had occasional issues with reaching someone (usually boys), but those relationships fizzled out long before my realisation that reach can be a cruel word.

I’ll always remember when my baby could reach the other side of the carpet with his first roll;

When he reached up to hold on and stand for the first time;

The first time he reached out and walked towards me was a special memory;

The wonderment of reaching the next hurdle in life.

That’s the thing though, what if it’s hard getting over those hurdles? What if you take longer or just never manage to reach the goalposts that are set? Why can’t we change the goalposts to suit the individual?  What if the child doesn’t ever walk, or talk or pass that exam?

Do we need to always reach for the stars, when reaching the end of the road is a great enough of an achievement for some?

I’ve dealt with too much death recently. A friend was climbing when his foot didn’t reach out far enough for a rock. He fell off the mountain and died.   My father in law had a terminal illness. During the last year he couldn’t reach for his clothes, or reach the shower button, or the toilet on time. He didn’t reach 65.   3 years later and my mother in law is also terminally ill. I’ve been googling ‘reaching the end of life’ again.

We are always striving for better, reaching out for more. Reaching can cause joy, but on the flip side there can be heartache. There are things none of us want to reach.

Let’s just celebrate being. I’m happy just to plod along in the ‘now’.

A photo by Steve Richardson.


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