I finally came up with a word to describe what my insides feel like these days: glitchy. Actually, I am not even sure it’s a real word, but the experience is real — 100%. My life appears normal and some of the time it mimics normal, when all of a sudden there is a break, a crack, a glitch. It usually happens when I bump into situations that “used to be”.
The “Used-to-be” mindset is a dangerous one. It keeps me tethered to the past and disables my ability to enjoy the present. I am immobilized to move forward with adventure or hope. I just can’t let go of wanting to cling to what “used to be”.
I don’t want to hold on to all of it, mind you. I am very selective about it. I want my kids to all live under my roof again, but I don’t want to have to cook for them or clean up after them. I want my younger thinner body but my aged and wiser perspective. I want the grateful mindset I had when I had Leukemia without the destruction it caused my family.
Let’s face, it. Everyday we are faced with things that “used to be” one way and as a result of an international pandemic, are no longer possible. Some may never be possible again. It changed things for all of us. We lost loved ones, lost school years and proms and graduations; we lost jobs and businesses, lost community and intimacy with friends and even lost the random smile from complete strangers because of our masks.
In the past few months, as I mentioned in another entry, my parents moved from a city an hour away from me to California, a 2 day drive. Next, my son moved out (with the cat) and my daughter moved to California. I just returned home from visiting my family in Napa, and though it was wonderful, it was a reminder of what I am missing.
When I am in this place in my head, I am more susceptible to my other character defects of control and fear. I am unsettled (read–“unaccepting”) about life in general, which magnifies the fact that I have no power to change circumstances or outcomes, create opportunities or initiate growth in my friends or even my enemies.
To be honest, I am not sure there is an answer to this uncomfortable and shaky state of my soul. Well, that’s not true. I know the answer is always acceptance of reality as it is. I just don’t like that answer.
I can choose to embrace my new reality and move forward in trust that God has something new and good in store for me, or I can resent it, dig my heels in and whine.
Right now I am doing more of the latter.
“Acceptance is the answer to all our problems”. That doesn’t mean I accept unacceptable behavior from others, it means, in the words of a recovering alcoholic, “when I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation–some fact of my life–unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment…unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world, as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.” (page 417 Alcoholics Anonymous).
Let me just reiterate how much I really, really, really don’t like that answer.
But I do know from experience that when I am willing to do it–to accept life on life’s terms–I can finally relax and lean in to today. I can grieve the past and occasionally long for it, but if I keep grasping for it, I will miss what is in front of me today.
And that is the only place I can truly live. The only way to fix the glitch.