REFLECTIONS, INVITATIONS, CHOICES, Part One
So how many times have you or someone else said recently, “I can’t believe how fast this year has gone by”? Right now, as I write, it is still 2010. Well, in Australia, it is already 2011, and has been for quite a few hours. That’s amazing. Can you believe it?
Well, here’s my deal. I purposely avoid reflecting on how fast time flies whether or not I am having fun or how fast the year is going by. It’s too scary for me! On my sixtieth birthday, five years and four months ago, my oldest sister asked me how many years I thought I had left. Now it was a pretty good evening until she popped that question!
The realization that Dad lived to be eighty three, and I was now sixty was a shocker. Perhaps I had only twenty three years left. Well, I don’t know what all of you think in terms of your life and your life-span. But me? I have a lot to accomplish before I clock out, and twenty three years wasn’t going to cut it for me.
When I was fifty, a kind older woman, Mary, asked me how long I wanted to live. At that time, I figured eighty looked pretty good. So she said she would pray every day that I would live to be eighty. On the night of my sixtieth birthday, after my sister’s wonderful question, when I realized Mary was praying that I live to be eighty, I panicked. I called her almost immediately and told her the deal was off. There had to be a new deal! I wanted to live to at least, to at least, to at least, yes, I have to say it three times, to ONE HUNDRED and or beyond. Now that gives me, in my own alleged mind, just about enough time to accomplish all I that I want to accomplish!
So since then, I zero in on NOW, and I don’t pay attention to how fast yesterday disappeared or how fast tomorrow will show up. I keep my soul’s eyeballs on NOW. That vision of now holds me calm and keeps me moving steadily toward accomplishing my dreams before I check out and return home.
Hey, come on, I hear you. You do not have to remind me that perhaps or not even perhaps, I have no control over how long I live. I get it! Always a die hard fundamentalist in the crowd! And you have your place. We need you. BUT, what if I do have something to say about how long I live? What if God is expecting me to join in on the project? What if God invites all of us to co-create, co-live, co-will? What if this life IS a joint project with our Senior Partner? I am beginning to think that it is. And if, as a fundamentalist, you really do believe in CREATION, then the whole relationship with God is going to be a creative process and one in which God is going to expect us to be CREATIVE. Creation, creativity is our birth right, our heritage as CREATures and children of God. So start co-creating, co-living, co-willing, before the NOW starts passing you by!
In twelve step work, there is a major focus on surrendering to God’s will. Again it is easy to think of “doing” God’s will as a passive surrendering on my part. But in twelve step work, there is an equally important focus on accountability. I think accountability becomes the keystone, it is our ticket, so to speak, to be co-creators, co-willers (if you will) with God. I think we have a lot more input than we realize here even in surrendering to God’s will. Part of that surrendering is surrendering the self-critical part of ourselves which is a barrier to living in the image and likeness of God as a person who creates, who is creative, and who is willing to step up to the plate and PARTICIPATE in creating God’s will for ourselves. And once you participate, then you have to be accountable for you participation or lack of.
I struggle all the time, for example, wondering if I am following God’s will in maintaining my private practice with all of its financial burdens, but as I continue to believe that it is God’s will, my accountability for the financial part of the practice increases and I get better and better at keeping up with the accounting and the marketing that is required. It is becoming very interesting to me that working on sobriety, includes not only sobriety from alcohol, but sobriety from everything else, for example, procrastination and avoidance.
So surrendering does not let any of us off the hook. Our calling is to participate with our Senior Partner, as Wayne Dyer refers to God. So God expects, maybe even demands, our participation, our input, our decisions, our choices, our direction. You better believe it.
It will be too late when we get to heaven to realize how much input was expected or was part and parcel of being a CREATure. “I didn’t know” isn’t going to cut it for us! No, I don’t think we will be punished, as such, but perhaps our regret will be like a mini hell or mini purgatory or maybe we will have to come back again to get it right, so to speak. Although, I don’t believe in reincarnation, but somehow or someway, we will have to make up for that missing piece, for not participating.
So speaking of time flying, it is now 2011! And, December 29th was my parents’ 76th wedding anniversary. Neither are here on earth, but it seems like yesterday that they were here. They would be 95 and 96. Doesn’t seem possible. And even more impossible, someday I will be 95 and 96. Wow!
This past week was also Scott and Marianne’s thirty fifth wedding anniversary (my youngest sister and brother-in-law) and yesterday, last year yesterday, Ted and Brigid gave birth to their third child, a daughter, Bailey Evangeline. What a difference a year makes. Last year, speaking of time flying, Ted was in Afghanistan. We are so grateful he is home and safe.
The day before that was David’s birthday. My son, David Bradley. The man who can lift his iron balls over his head. They are called Kettle bells. You are probably familiar with his hubs and blogs, and his recent book, How To Stop Smoking Without Killing Anyone. I am going to post a separate tribute to him before the weekend is out.
I am so grateful for and to David. I really enjoy being his Dad and his Father. It is an honor and a privilege. And I acknowledge that at times, I fall short. I also really enjoy the times the roles get reversed and he is a good Dad to me. THANKS, DAVID.
Shifting a tad, it has been five months that I have lived here in this room, learning to live with myself. I am not such a bad roommate. In fact, I am a good roommate, and with lots of support from loved ones, I have become a healthy person, happy, peaceful, and serene THIRTY PERCENT of the time. That’s batting three hundred in baseball! AND sober, one hundred percent of the time. At least sober from alcohol. Maybe still addicted to procrastination, avoidance, stress, and sometimes food.
On Christmas Eve, I became aware that not everyone likes me let alone loves me. I know it is kind of sad that I am so slow in learning the obvious. But I have worked so hard, so codependently, making sure that I made everyone in my life happy, that I missed the obvious. I can’t make everyone happy. I can’t make anyone happy.
I know some of you, especially those of you whom either I have outright hurt or who have been hurt in some way or another by my choices and behavior, are just rolling your eyes and wondering what fantasy world I am living in, like you don’t recognize the Vern who SAYS he stands on his head to make everyone happy. Shoot me. Get it over with. Well, not really!
I guess what I am trying to say is I realize now not everyone likes me or loves me, and in fact, I have hurt my share of human beings on the planet, even people I said I loved and committed my life to.
To say I am sorry sounds way too trite, but I am sorry for not being the person you expected me to be. In some situations, I think I could have been that person for you had I been more grown up or mature or little more selfless. (Selfish and selfless are not necessarily opposites.)
So I will learn to own my guilt and hopefully learn how to heal the wounds resulting from my not living up to who I really am.
There are other situations, like what occurred in my family on Christmas Eve, where I know I have been a source or a trigger of hurt for others, but I am not clear or sure what I am guilty of. But I am willing to “show up” and acknowledge that you are hurting and it has something to do with me.
The bottom line in all of this is I am growing up and becoming more connected to reality. Not everyone likes me, and sometimes they don’t like me because I’m just not likable, or I behave in a way that is anything but lifegiving. I also recognize that sometimes I make choices that are lifegiving for me, but in the mystery of life, are hurtful to others. I have never wanted to grapple with that before. Now I am ready. (I think!)
Well, to end this reflection segment with a bit of humor, I will update you on the sock revolution of 2010. I finally made a missing sock report which the local sheriff was hesitant to take, but I insisted as a good sock lover. And there are no leads as yet except for a phone call from a trucker driving through Phoenix. Arizona, who said he gave a ride to the sock, and the sock simply wanted me to know that it was doing just fine without me rescuing it. And it was happy not to have to live in my drawer any longer.
I mean, come on, what kind of a message is that? To heel with you then. Don’t want to live in my sock drawer with the rest of your kind, then yes, be my guest. Hitchhike and hope a sock murderer disguised as a kind trucker doesn’t give you a lift or doesn’t assault you by wearing you on his ugly foot.
I will be posting two other segments to this blog: INVITATIONS and CHOICES.
THANKS FOR READING AND COMMENTING. Share with us some of your reflections of 2010, 2011, and your life in general. How long do you plan on hanging around?
HAPPY NEW YEAR.