Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quietly contemplating choices

After a couple of days of turmoil on all fronts, lots of fear and ice weasels, lots of reading about coping and consequences, we are in a place of relative calm tonight.

Our child is safe and okay, and has made some decisions about where she wants to be. For my part, I am determined to give her back the power I've assumed on her behalf over the last few months, and to stop treating her as though she were an errant teenager.

For this moment, I believe what she is saying is the truth.

And if it is not, that too will eventually come out. Truth always does.

But everyone deserves at least a couple of do-overs, y'know? So this is one.

I do have a problem with control: I like knowing what is going on and alllllll the details -- always have, and that has caused problems in my relationships with my daughters in the past. If I really get honest about it, I think I see the "right" thing to do, and I push and push to have it go in that direction.

For me, the hardest thing is to let go of that control. While I say "I am powerless over people, places, and things," I often don't actually ACT it. or believe it, I suppose

My brother would agree that I am and always have been fairly bossy. (ooo...that is SO hard to admit, especially where I know he's going to see it)

And I also have to admit that my own life has not always been a textbook of the best or the right way to live. I've screwed things up pretty well any number of times. No, I never suffered horrible consequences like getting thrown in jail, getting arrested, gravely serious injury (although I bear a few scars here and there, and there are a few instances I really don't like remembering), or doing injury to others, at least injuries that are visible.

But I'm sure I gave my mother and father more than a few sleepless nights, and caused my ex some major heartburn. I'm sure I lost a few friends -- although I'm not sure that they were all that great a friend to begin with.

So the lesson I need to find in this is to accept the consequences of my own behavior, of my own choices, and to let go of the need and the desire to direct the choices and lives of others -- my daughters, my dear husband, or my greater family and friends.

It simply is NOT MINE TO DO. Not mine to manage.

Whatever my daughters choose to do in their lives are theirs to manage and to live with. I will never, ever stop loving them. But I am not responsible for their choices. I cannot control their mistakes. And we ALL make mistakes.

Mine in this instance was probably in jumping a bit too quickly to conclusions, and trying too hard to control things.

If there is risky behavior from either child, it is they who will bear the consequences. I cannot save them from that, try as I might. And to jump in to either condemn or rescue is equally as bad.

So tonight I will turn my attention to myself, and ask for the serenity to accept those things I cannot change. And for the wisdom to know the difference. I don't lack for courage, but wisdom to know has definitely been an issue in the past. I just didn't realize how great an issue it still was.

And I am grateful that she is safe and okay for now, that she has made a CHOICE to be where she is, and that her people radar has kicked in enough, at least, to override her stubborn nature and allowed her to see the danger.

I will turn my worries and fears and control over to the care of God/dess, and try to keep myself on the path to serenity. This is a journey. It matters what I do every day. But neither will I beat myself up unnecessarily. It is about progress, not perfection, and I am working on my own issues.

Thank you for your prayers and your love. It is all that which has brought this to be where it is tonight, of that I am sure. Keep them coming -- and I will hold you close in my heart and in my prayers as well.


Eileen Flanagan said...

Accepting that we can't control other people is so hard, especially when they are people we love. It sounds like you're on the right track though.

artsybrain said...

I believe that just because friendships end does not mean the friend wasn't "that good a friend". Sometimes the road forks and the friends take different paths because this is what is right of each of them. It does not mean they don't care; in fact, sometimes when you love someone you have to let them go. But please do not think that all the friends you may have thought you lost because of whatever silly thing there was between you weren't good friends. They still are; they are simply on different roads that no longer intersect with yours.

Beth said...

I completely agree about friends. In fact, I wrote a blog post about it more than a year ago:

No, the friends I meant were more the not-really-close-except-in-work-or-social-circles ones. They're not the ones you would go to if you needed to talk or felt lousy. They're the ones who wouldn't talk to you either about anything that wasn't superficial.

We DO leave friends behind as one or the other moves on with life, and sometimes we briefly come back together just to honor the friendship as it was then. I've done that. And I've always liked to learn what has happened with them, how they've moved on. I like to know their story -- what happened next.

This blog sort of tells a lot about mine.