A lot of my job entails giving people bad news. News that changes their fundamental perspective of their basic hope that this “was just a passing phase” or “he’d grow out of it” or “if I changed his diet, things would get better.”
“I guess it is in God’s hands now” was one grandmother’s response to her daughter, who just received the most devastating news a person could receive: that her son may never show her that he loves in in the manner she craves, the manner she loves her own mother, the manner she dreamed about when she first learned of his existence.
The woman shirked back at her own mother and banned her from the exam room, and as her mother left, she tried to fix the moment by saying “you have to hope”
The comment reminded me of something my dad wrote to me years ago, forever shaping my sense of timing. Something along the lines of maybe when I feel out of control and that things are opening up for me that God hasn’t opened the door because I wasn’t ready to step completely through it yet. At the time, it gave me tremendous hope. And a few days later, what I thought was my life, what I believed I could fix, what I wanted more than anything, died. And I felt completely abandoned.
I think people say these sorts of things because they want to give comfort. They don’t understand, and it is comforting to offer that there is meaning behind the chaos, and it is healing to trust, to believe, that what is meant to be, will be.
But to this woman it was disempowering. Further evidence that she was NOT in control and was rather helpless against forces bigger than her; that she was just always floating upon a sea of favorable currents until the tide turned and showed her who was boss.
I did something brash and said “so, is it your turn or mine to be God today?”
The mom laughed and in the moment, in that space where I allowed her to wallow and grieve, and simply share it with her, God happened.
That God-ness, of something precious, of something essential, that not okayness inside of her that is screaming to feel as if she matters, and if she can do SOMETHING, anything, that might make a difference.
And I was feeling it as well.
I don’t believe in helplessness. I don’t believe he’s got the whole world in our hands and we just have to sit back and trust that it will all work out. Tell that to Mother Teresa. Gandhi, MLK…Oprah.
It WILL/might not/maybe already is worked out. I don’t know. I only fell.
That when we share in the triumphs and tragedies of life and when we inspire each other that our being here, our decisions, and protests, and crapping and crying and craving, well, they matter.
Dad was right. I wasn’t ready for the door yet at that moment years ago. But it didn’t open when I was ready, either. It came when I was completely preoccupied with living with flourish. When I refused to stop saving my life and start spending it. When I moved overseas, traveled widlly, started opening the bottle up after buying it the store, eating the streetside waffles, wearing the shoes the next day….when I looked down at my hands and marveled at what they could do.
and questioned, praised about who made me this way.
It is not about control. It is not about trust. It is about refusing to spend our lives with illusions of what SHOULD be and start tasting, molding, crawling towards the truth of who you are.
“Today, I only have you,” she said as in a moment of connection, she embraced me with abandon. And me? I said “he’s got the whole world, I am told.”
Me. Me. Me.
Where are you showing up in your world? and how?