Monday, September 27, 2010
Rain, at last!
On NPR's Morning Edition this morning, former Congressman Lee Hamilton told the story of a fellow congressman who said: "When I first came to Congress, I wanted to save the world. After a few years I decided to save the U.S. Later on, I just wanted to save Indiana." Finally, at the end of his career, the Congressman settled on the idea of saving the Indiana Dunes. It's a great interview btw, well worth a listen.
I used to want to fix things. Not just some things, I mean I wanted to fix everything. I wanted to heal everyone. I used to think I knew what was needed, what to do next, in any number of situations. I was absolutely certain I knew what was right. If only I were Queen of the World, I used to say.
As the years passed, my conviction in my infallibility softened, then melted, and has at last totally evaporated. Thank God. Letting go of the majority of my tendency towards being controlling has opened my mind and heart, made me a lot more humble than I once was. What a relief! Living in a mysterious world that unfolds according to rules I am not capable of understanding is a much more interesting experience than the world in which I knew what to do next, what everyone else needed to do or say. Oh yeah!
Sometimes I lapse into a controlling mindset, though not as often as in the past. Just recently I've begun to understand that the sturm und drang of it all - the struggling that people do in their marriages, raising kids, in work and retirement, even with their health - is all grist for the mill. Life has stuff, it always has and it always will.
Of course we try to avoid the stuff, try to resolve stuff - because encountering the marvels and perils of human experience is often very uncomfortable, sometimes downright painful. When trouble crops up, I don't know anyone who doesn't ask him/herself, "Why did this happen? Where did I go wrong? What was my mistake?"
I'm not saying it's a bad idea to try to figure out what leads us into uncomfortable situations, should say.
Wisdom is hard-won, hard-earned. Wisdom is available to every one of us, through the experience of divorce, loss, illness, injury, dangerous situations. Is it possible that things don't need fixing? I heard some sad stories at work yesterday, big changes in the lives of clients I've known for a long time. I don't know how to fix what's troubling them, but my heart is with them as they move through these defining moments. May they be well guided, may each of them discover how powerful, strong and loving they can be. And all of you, too! Shalom.