When it comes to knowing someone I love is struggling, I used to harness my heart to their situation.
It’s been a long process of learning to take a broader perspective.
Some years ago I had a friend who was a family dysfunction counselor that I began to lean on during some intense years of struggle. She was very healthy in her responses to me, but being in over my head and not yet educated in behavioral dynamics (including my own) related to family dysfunction, addiction, codependency etc., she often spoke in terms that would confuse and even at times infuriate me.
Until I was able to accept the truth of them.
Don’t we desperately not want the truth to be true sometimes?
When I would call crying or ranting about whatever crisis was happening within my family, listing all the ways I felt pinned to the wall and desperate for a breakthrough, she would often remind me that there was so much hope for me…but that hope “Was not to be in another person’s behavior or struggles. My hope is in a Higher Power, who has all final say and has a good plan for me through all of it.”
It sounded good.
I would burn for a moment, and try to breathe it in.
And then I’d think, “What is she talking about? Of course my hope is in this person changing, that’s the problem! I’m hoping this situation (which is pretty major, and very scary) has a breakthrough…or I’ll die in the midst of it. How can I not put my hope there? I have my entire heart invested in this person.”
With my heart pounding and adrenaline still surging, I would try to agree with her and gain strength from her words, but internally I really didn’t get it.
The thing I needed to awaken to was that yes, behavior changing and circumstances turning around was exactly what I was hoping FOR. But my hope wasn’t IN that happening, or even in the person I loved so much who was in a life and death struggle.
My hope needed to be propped up on something that transcended all of us. My hope had to go beyond and above all of it.
My hope needed to be placed on a living Force, a higher power Source, in order to get me outside of my own head.
I needed to anchor my hope to a Source with solutions superseding my knowledge, resources and limitations. To a power Source that has knowledge, ability and authority beyond the realms of anyone and anything else.
(I need to add that who and what is to be our Source upon which to anchor hope and turn to for help is something we all have to flesh out for ourselves.)
This revelation of a Greater Authority began a process of trust for me that continues to this day.
It taught me to allow space with people, to put separation on situations, to lift them all up, off of me, and to not allow anyone to have too much power over me.
I am now on the other side of those desperate years; when life being anything but depressing, chaotic and crazy didn’t seem possible. Even still, when troubles arise, and triggers present, instead of reacting immediately, or collapsing into a puddle of mess – I respond by taking a moment to submit myself to my Source.
My hope remains harnessed to the One who engineers all things to work out in my favor, no matter how bitter they appear when I’m in them.
Hope placed solely in people and circumstances isn’t stable or healthy (not for me anyway).
Hope placed in something bigger, something above and beyond, greater than myself or anyone else…gives me a way out of the madness of worry, obsession, or efforts to control and interfere.
Thank you, recovery!
Because that area of me was a complete mess.
Whether a heavy, scary thing occurs in my life, or a door I have much hope for slams shut in my face – it helps tremendously to come back to the reminder that; “No matter what I’m hoping for, my hope is not in this person, place or thing. There’s a bigger picture, and a grander Source.”
Once you begin to find that Source for yourself and turn things over to it, hope will begin to transcend your situations. Hope will anchor to your Source, and that offers more relief than I can describe.
Peace like a river.
While I absolutely continue to visualize and have specific hopes for situations (and people) to go this way or that, and I always will, my hope is always foundationally IN and connected to a power far greater than any of it.
I personally believe that no one has more authority or ability than my Higher Power, the Force who has the final say over every area my life, my son’s life, my family, our circumstances, and even all things adversarial (including enemies and toxic people).
My Source works it all together for my good.
And in coming to an understanding of that, I finally found peace.
Here’s to hope,