Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Waiting For The Next Act

There are times when "one day at a time" is more than a cliche. And there then there are the times when it seems like a cruel joke. The creaky wheels of the justice and chemical dependency treatment systems are like a three-mile train being pulled by a Honda Accord right now. I've been living the way I've been living for a long enough time to know that there's some purpose being served here, and that if I just can resist the impulse to act on the impatience being generated, the impact will be manageable and all of us, hopefully (and me definitely) will get to a better place.
But it's hard to do, particularly when all the principals being asked to exercise superhuman patience are among the class of people that are the most impatient on earth. And delays give the inherent tensions and stressors that have played a part in setting the wheels in motion that much more fuel to work their dark magic. As much as I would like to, I can't speak for anyone else, but I can say this about what's been happening with me. We all like resolution; we all like a chance to sift through conflicting emotions; we all like chances to seek guidance from our supports and from God about what the right things to do are. Perhaps that's the underlying reason why this kind of limbo period has occurred.
But the longer the inertia is in place, the greater the chance of sand accumulating in the gears. And sometimes I wonder if that is the ultimate purpose of the inaction--to simply stave off doing something until someone does lose patience, does lose hope and faith, and makes an impulsive decision that forever changes the equation and essentially removes the need for further action. I realize I'm being somewhat cryptic here, but there are lives in play here that are at crucial crossroads, and I don't want to tip the scales one way or the other, nor be partially or totally responsible for consequences incurred by my own loss of patience.
But the flip side is that exercising patience can also be painful. It can lead to repeated exposure to emotional injury. And none of us are made of stone, no matter how long we've been trying to live a more spiritual, God-centered life and no matter how much experience we have with trying to follow God's will, not ours. When deep emotional waters are reached and roiled up, I don't care who you are and how strong your "connection" with the God  of your understanding is; you still want relief from those feelings, and the temptation to act out is almost overwhelming, whether through emotional outburst or short-sighting, impulsive decision-making that can easily lead to the fragile Jenga tower of your life coming down around you.
And if I'm feeling this way, imagine what the others that are a part of this situation are going through, people who have a lot less experience with managing these kinds of crises, people with poorer coping skills and with more issues than Time magazine. Honestly, it's like watching from a hilltop as a train desperately trying to brake approaches a stalled car at a railroad crossing. Is there enough room? Is there enough time?
Who knows?
Maybe today will be a day when the gears shift a little bit. I've made a commitment to not remove myself, to be an adult, to not be a jerk, and while honoring that commitment, I've discovered that whatever else I may feel, I still feel as fiercely protective and, damn it, affectionate as I ever have. It's not right, and part of the seething impatience is knowing that someone you will always care a great deal about is being asked to show superhuman strength in a situation where faltering has already taken place. I think my own stance and my own actions have been more helpful to that person than not, and in the process I've found much to feel good about regarding the type of man I've become.
But damn, I wish the test would end.

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