I tend to like to be in control.
I know for those of you who know me, the above statement is a surprise for you to hear.... or maybe not. When there is a problem, I get a little razzled for a bit, then step back and figure out a solution. And this has worked quite well for me, most of the time. But what do you do when a quick fix is not possible? What do you do when what you envisioned gets turned upside down? When your plans for life don't go the way you thought they would go?
This could happen if you suddenly lose your job, your spouse asks for a divorce, you have an unexpected pregnancy (whether you're young and not married, or your getting ready for your youngest to enter high school or college), or your child dies. What do you do?
One thing I found myself doing, after Austin died, was to try to control everything else around me. I wanted to drive my kids everywhere, instead of carpooling, to make sure they got to where they were going on time. If what I had planned was interrupted it threw me off kilter a little, sometimes a lot. If I felt I was 'losing' control I would feel panic. If my schedule got too full and I felt I couldn't keep all the plates spinning, I'd put one down, knowing it would put me over the edge if I didn't. I didn't like interruptions.
Prior to Austin's death, I loved doing things spur of the moment. A little bit of spontaneity invigorated me, got my juices flowing. After Austin's death, not so much. I liked being in control, having all my ducks in a row.
Over the past year, I found myself withdrawing from social events. Events that in the past I would be the first one to say I would be there. I seemed to have lost energy. I seemed to lack the motivation to be involved. I rarely invited someone to get together for lunch, coffee, a drink, or whatever 'excuse' I could think of. This was completely out of character for me, but it was me for a year. I wasn't sure why. I just knew I needed to.
This is another thing I have learned since Austin's accident. I have learned to listen to myself, to my physical and mental reactions. To know when something would be too much and know it was ok to say 'no'. Again, I wasn't always sure why I had those feelings, I just knew I needed to listen to them.
This past Sunday I was sitting in church and the pastor was talking about 'interruptions' in our lives and how sometimes we needed to not react, but to slow down and wait for an answer. And there was my answer. This past year I had needed to slow down. I had needed to put all of my priorities in check, to truly reflect on what is important, what requires my passion and attention, and what I need to let go of and not worry about.
Over the past week or two, I have found my 'old' self returning. I have found myself wanting to and looking forward to entertaining, getting together with others, enjoying friends (old and new). The only difference is I have even more of a peace then I ever have. I have a contentment, knowing that quiet moments are good for me, are important for me, are rejuvenating. Interruptions are ok, maybe not desired, but ok. I don't need to solve them immediately. They prepare me for times of enjoying others, of valuing the friendships I have, of healing my soul.
If you find yourself upside down, with your plans being interrupted, slow down. Give yourself permission to wait, knowing that things will work out, maybe not how you originally planned, but they will work out - one way or the other.
I usually don't share sermons on this blog, but wanted to provide the link for anyone that wanted to listen to the "Interruption" sermon I spoke of above. It is the one from December 8th (Chris Mitchell) "Divine Interruptions - Joseph" http://www.newenglandchapel.org/sunday-services/sermons.html
(I plan on writing another blog on my 'attitude' this past year - which wasn't a good one, I'm ashamed to admit.")