Monday, March 27, 2017

Another Crossroads

I'm less than a week away from another birthday, and it's time for another long hard look about where I am and where I am going. I've been kind of treading water in a riptide recently, telling myself it's all right because it's been moving me in the direction I want to go in. But it's getting to be time to be heading for shore, and it's going to be a test of strength, of resolve, and of faith to get there. Some commitments have run their course; others are still in play. I really don't know where I am heading, but I know I can't head out away from shore, either, and that's where the current seems to be flowing toward.
Surrender on a large scale is the answer, but surrendering to exactly what is an open question. I do know some things are constants. I go to work each scheduled day. I treat people like I want to be treated, and when it is not reciprocated, I try my best not to respond in kind (and when I fall short, I cut myself off before I say or do things I cannot retract). I pray for guidance, when I remember to, and when I remember to, I stay open to the answer. Most of all, I make a conscious decision not to do things that I know have not worked in the past.
I'm sorry if this is a bit opaque. But I realize I am at a point that is crucial, and I really, really do not want to make navigating any harder than it already is. If no other lesson from the new presidential administration can be taken to heart, the one about not giving voice to every thought in your head is the one I am heeding. I cannot control my thoughts, and quite honestly, sometimes they are murderous and ugly. But I can control what I do, and I am getting better at controlling what I say.
I've spent most of my life picking up pieces from one debris field or another. It's gotten old. Things may fall down anyway, and I won't have much choice about picking it up. But I'm not going to be the one that brings it all crashing down by some impulsive, heat-of-the-moment act or emotional verbal expression.
And in the long run, we're all dead anyway. Why make our limited time here miserable or unendurable? There is so much I am powerless over, and I've accepted that. A detached, cold look at my life to this point tells me that almost all of the unhappiness in my past was caused ultimately by attempts to control that which couldn't be controlled. Insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results.
I'm quite sane today. I don't necessarily know what the right thing to do, the right course to choose, is in many areas right now. But I do know two things: 1) I know how I feel, and 2) I know that when I have acted on the same feelings in years past, I haven't ultimately gotten what I wanted in the long run anyway. So struggle as I might with the feelings, I am not going to act out on them--not like I have in the past, anyway.
Because that path doesn't lead to where I want to go. It is strange and unfamiliar to be patient as much as I have been. But the few times I've lost patience, it has been a source of nearly instant regret. There is a way to shore here. But flailing about and swimming against the tide is a way to first exhaustion, and then drowning. I'm not interested in experiencing either outcome.
The most apt quote I have ever heard regarding relationships came many years ago, the week of the first Valentine's Day I was clean, in February 1999, and I have never forgotten it, even as I not always heeded it: "You cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone that they can love. The rest is up to them."

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