love, life, and the pursuit of liberation
Last night I was piddling around my kitchen when my life completely changed.
I don’t remember if I was pouring sweet tea or contemplating having that last Magnum Double Chocolate ice-cream bar, but I do know that my aha moment came as clear as the literal voice of God.
Let me go back and explain more.
I have this problem with allowing certain people to walk all over me. That might come as a surprise for some because in about 65% of my life, I am extremely controlled, confident, and assertive. In the other 35%, I behave like a docile, powerless child, afraid to rock the boat, afraid to speak up about what I want or need, and when I do I present it as an option, not a requirement. I allow poor treatment and feel paralyzed about how to stop it, too often thinking the fault lies in my own humanity. I get that this is problematic and despite much therapy over the years, I haven’t figured out how not to be this way. Do I become a bully back? Do I become nagging? Do I focus on getting all of the material things and markers of better treatment? Do I just become the person that others expected me to be? None of that worked. And it wasn’t for lack of trying.
This past Sunday marked my return to regular attendance. I fell off around May at first due to vacations, then due to laziness, then finally due to despair. My pastor is on sabbatical, and that gave us the opportunity to hear the wonderful Carlos W. Anderson give the Sunday Talk. Every single time I hear him speak, I experience momentous shifts. This past week he talked about knowing who and whose we are. He reminded us that our parents are not our parents, but that God is the giver of life and our true guide. He reminded us that our parents are just our sisters and our brothers going through their own journey, part of which included being a vehicle for our physical birth. He went on to say that often, our parents are our little brothers and sisters, not privy to the social contexts or information that we have access to, and that when we accept that, our expectations and dramatic perceptions of them will change. We release them from our grip of expectation and we can put a period on our past. We can spend the rest of our energy returning to our true, spiritual source.
So back to the kitchen.
Now that I think about it, it wasn’t senseless piddling I was doing. More than likely, I was replaying a recent argument or preparing my points for one that I knew would come. In that moment, I realized that I didn’t have to do this anymore. That person is just a little sister/brother going through their own journey. And I have NEVER, EVER tolerated crazy talk from a child. Why had I been doing it all this time?
At that moment, the buck stopped. No more docility, no more anxiety about how to fix myself to be more pleasing or accommodating. No more need to be passive aggressive. No more feeling responsible for someone else’s journey and wanting to protect them from themselves. No more! I realized that when people bully and are mean and try exert power and force, they are in that moment the most powerless, the most harmless, the most infantile. I realized that I have the ultimate power in that moment.
I am confident, I am whole, I am on my spiritual journey. I know who my Mother-Father is and it’s time that I behave consistently like I have a home.*
*This comes from a southern admonition that a parent might say to her child. “Act like you come from somewhere.” This is said to children as a reminder to have manners, decorum, civility, and morality, and are not from a place where rude, uncouth, immoral behavior is acceptable. It is one step beyond “You weren’t born in a barn,” in that it is more than just manners, but a call to remember one’s roots or “good stock” as my mother calls it.