Sunday, April 18, 2010

Who I'm Not -- by Liimu

I’m not God. I can’t possibly control all that happens in my world, and I’ve long since given up trying. I’ve known many women and marriages that have broken down over a woman’s futile attempts at maintaining control and some unattainable level of perfection at all times and in all areas. I know a woman who spent her entire career working to be the top dog in her field, until she realized that no amount of money could repair the damage caused by neglecting her husband and kids for nearly twenty years. I know another woman who spent fifteen years spending all her energy trying to be the perfect mom, then woke up one day to find her children about to leave the nest and a man laying next to her in bed she hardly recognized.

I am crazy busy. Anyone who knows me knows that. Bless Robin for including me in this website knowing that fact, but I guess it’s because she also knows that I try very hard not to make commitments unless I fully intend to keep them. If asked where my first priority lies, they might be surprised to know that it’s not actually to my children. It’s to God, and finding ways to best serve Him, and following that, to myself. Because what I have learned is that if I neglect myself or my spiritual life, I am really no good to my children and husband. I’m cranky, irritable, ungrateful, self-centered and just downright yucky to be around. My husband said to me once when I was in one of these moods, “You need to do whatever you need to do to get re-centered. When you’re miserable, everyone in this family is miserable.”

So, I no longer try to be all things to all people. I start with getting connected to God and to being me, the best me I can be, and everything I do is to support one of those two goals. I usually start the day by running or going to the gym for a good workout. (When people ask me how I have time to run, I explain that I multitask. When I’m asked to go out for coffee or drinks, I always ask if we can get together to run instead. That way, I’m combining catching up with a good friend with my never-ending quest for health and fitness. My spiritual tank ends up twice as full!) Today, I ran three miles with a friend at 6 am, and was feeling pretty good about things. I worked for a few hours, and got some excellent feedback on my performance so I was feeling really jazzed. Then at about a quarter to 4, I got all freaked out when I checked our bank account online. I knew I didn’t want to pick up the girls in that state – I try hard not to raise them with the same sense of financial insecurity I grew up with – so I called my sponsor to get some support.

My sponsor told me a story from a recent production of Cinderella she saw. She said in the story, Cinderella asks her fairy godmother if she can go to the ball. She tells her fairy godmother how badly she wants to go and how disappointed she is not to have the right dress to wear or a way to get there. Then she says, “Well, I guess I could borrow my mother’s dress and catch a ride to the ball. I don’t really have to go in a fancy carriage in a fancy dress.” And of course then the fairy godmother grants her the wish, but in this version of the story she says it’s because Cinderella is willing to do everything she can to make her own dreams come true. That opens the door for the Universe to do the rest. “So,” my friend of more than 15 years then said to me, pausing only to breathe deeply (which, in turn, prompted me to do the same), “have you done everything you can do to make your dreams come true?” “I don’t know!” I cried. “Yes,” she assured me. “Yes, you have. Now, just go outside into your beautiful backyard for ten minutes before you pick up those girls and give thanks for all you have. Because just for today, it’s enough. You are enough.”

So, I did. I sat on the patio in the middle of my park-like backyard which, now that Spring has sprung, is bursting with color thanks to the flowers that are in bloom in the grass, the trees and the bushes. I sat there and looked around and then I looked up and said, “I’m sorry for doubting You. Thank You, God. Thank You for taking such good care of me. I promise, I trust You.” And before I knew it, it was time to go pick up my girls.

As I walked down the driveway to meet the bus, my phone rang. I looked at the caller ID and saw that it was a colleague of mine who has been helping me secure project work consistently since the beginning of the year. He was calling to tell me that a resource they had assigned to an upcoming project had backed out and he wanted to know if I was interested in taking it. I smiled to the Heavens and said another silent “thank You” to the God of my understanding, who was – yet again – reminding me that there is a God, and it isn’t me.

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