Thursday, October 22, 2009
A-ha Moment: Finding True North Again
As I was sitting in Starbucks yesterday, mentally grappling with fear that had kidnapped me hook, line and sinker; I experienced a one sip revelation. I have had these A-ha moments before in times of deep need, and had been praying for inner relief for two days, after tears and heartache and much wrestling over a couple of tough issues.
When A-ha moments arrive, they feel as though God has injected a thought into my head. And that thought -- a fresh perspective outside of the nonstop gerbil wheel of anxious thoughts -- gives the most instant and total relief that it feels near-miraculous.
So my Ah-ha moment yesterday was this. "All the pain you are feeling is coming from mentally meddling in business that is not your own. If you will only focus on the business labeled 'For Becky's Attention' -- the inner pain will stop."
So I did. And it did.
Almost as simple as that. I also had a good, long cleansing cry that morning that seemed to open my heart to deeper listening. Tears clean out a lot of pent-up toxins and cobwebs that block our ability to hear clearly from God.
Greg was out of town last night and so I bought Chinese food, and for once, got a "fortune" in my cookie that wasn't completely lame. It said, "Stop asking so much if you are doing things right, and ask instead, 'Are you doing the right things?'"
Again, most of my pain came from the angst of wondering if I were saying or doing the right thing to "help" someone else make the right choice, get better, or feel better or like me better. Rather than pausing to ask if I should be doing anything at all, or if, by taking on this mental task,I might actually be draining energy away from my truest calling?
Then it dawned on me that I had gone to meddling again. Feeling completely responsible to rescue, fix, solve the problems of people I could no more control than I could direct the movement of the sun. People who were, for the most part, not even asking for my advice, opinions or input. People who were grown up, bright and capable of making great choices all by themeselves for their very own lives.
I'd steered away from my personal North Star, and that always causes pain.
When I lost everything after an excrutiating divorce, including very nearly my mind, I went through intensive therapy -- going every day for two weeks to try to sort out the remaining puzzle pieces of my life that had been blown to smithereens.
The therapist asked, "What do you want, Becky?" and I said, without hesitation, in an answer that surprised me, "I want to make one really good man happy for the rest of his life. I was born to be a good wife, to a good man." I am not even sure where that came from, and I knew that if this therapist asked other people the same question each of us would respond differently. But for me and my life, I knew my calling with such clarity in that moment when I felt I'd lost everything but my will to live and be happy. I knew that to love and be loved back by a very good man was the box God had labeled "For Becky's Attention."
Then, in God's grace and mercy, I married this very good man and his name is Greg.
Five years into our marriage we have one of the most unique, intimate, loving and fun relationships imaginable. Both of us are tenderhearted nurturers so we pour out a lot of our lives into other people who are going through the "What the heck happened to my life?" experience.
We have six kids (all married or paired up)and three grandsons, between us, and have enjoyed a lot of involvement with them.
Without realizing it,however, over time, I have lost my clear, razor sharp focus. I'd become a card carrying member of the Over-Caring Club. I've allowed myself to go from caring about others to wanting to fix, change, help or rescue them -- and often times without being asked to do so. Sometimes I AM asked to do so, but still tend to take on too much personal responsibility, internally. Instead of helping, I begin trying to fix. Sometimes this shift is totally mental, nobody knows how much emotional energy I'm using to figure out other peoples problems, except me. And God.
And all the while, there is this one very good man, this incredible gift from God, lovingly and patiently holding my hand through it all. And on his forehead is written, "For Becky's Attention" ...
Aside from knowing God, Greg is my clearest calling. Our marriage is my highest privilege. It is, perhaps, the best marriage I've ever observed or known and I do not say that with pride as if I have done anything to deserve it. I say it with awe, that I have been given this privilege.. to love and be loved back by the kindest, wisest, most loving soul I have ever known.
Supporting, tending to, and cherishing this relationship brings me the pure joy of knowing I am following my True North. If something,someday, should happen to Greg, which is my deepest fear, then God will give me a new box with "for Becky's Attention" on it and I'll get a new, clear focus.
But for now, I HAVE my heart's desire and my clarity of purpose. And with the love of a lifetime in my arms, then the rest of life --- other people's pain, a dozen problems ever-waiting to be solved, our grown kids and grandkids, the details of living --all of it will fall into place. Or not. It doesn't really matter.
I only know my own personal calling and it is deep and sure, and the compass for my life. I do not expect that my north star would be YOUR north star or anyone else's. I only know that when own my personal compass is set on toward my true north, I am home.
And when I forget, I am totally lost.