On my walk today with my dogs, I realized something about myself–more than realized something, I realized and reflected on a pattern, a way of interacting–a way of being that doesn’t serve me all that well in some situations. A way of being that causes unnecessary emotional bumps and bruises and longer recovery times.
To set the stage, my teenage daughter, Danielle and the exchange student, Blanca, who is living with us, went to the river to rock hop and enjoy the water on a hot summer day. Blanca noticed a narrow rush of fast-moving current between where I was precariously wedged between some large rocks and a calm pool of water. I engaged every muscle I had to avoid the faster moving water, while Danielle and Blanca went on down the “baby rapids”–toes up, nose up — thus avoiding all rocks and having a glorious ride to the calm pool of water on the other side. They in their mini oasis for what seemed like an eternity while all the while cajoling me to get into the rapids. I would not. Nope. Even though I’m a strong swimmer and knew that I could get to the other side, for some reason, I just would not do it. I would not let go.
It was not until my leg muscles finally gave out that I went ahem…unwillingly down the rapids– bumping and getting bruised on the rocks along the way. Instead of going through the churning water willingly to get to the other side, I was forced to by my own exhaustion and the result was painful and embarrassing.
This what I tend to do emotionally as well– I avoid conflict at all costs. I acquiesce. I just go along and figure it out later and often by myself I have trouble sitting in the swirl– being in chaos. I often don’t value my own inner strength to get through it and therefore, I sit paralyzed, peace on the other side deferred until I can figure out how to devise a contraption or go allll the way around to finally get to the other side. However, more often than not, I get yanked into chaos because I simply get too tired to hold on any longer and I get hurt.
As I sit here writing this and reflecting upon my life, I have to admit that my legs are tired, my brain is tired, my heart is tired. The swirl is here. The swirl is everywhere. The swirl is real. The key is to trust that what’s one the other side is worth it AND to control the entrée into the chaos. Does one go unwillingly or have a controlled descent–nose up, toes up?! It’s hard to trust that will work and sometimes, even when you plan it all out, it doesn’t work out. So, I’m searching inside for the peace within to get me through the swirl of raging water and the trust in myself that yes, I have incomprehensible strength given by God, I can manage it. Time to let go.