“After a certain point it is necessary to let go of all outside help (or contact) and focus on one’s own resourcefulness.” Joan Anderson
Once a woman escapes she should never call home. I had planned not to do so and then realized that the hotel computer was available for my use. And so, to be nice, I emailed my husband that we had arrived safely, gave him details of our trip complete with all the bumps and starts, wished him well for the next 2 weeks and sealed it with a kiss.
Two days later he answers. “I won’t bother telling you what’s going on here,” he offered. “Just know that I am all right.”
It wasn’t really him that I was worried about–I was much more concerned with our sons, one of whom is getting a divorce and the other, looking for a new job.
How stupid of me to invite intrusion—to open the door I had so completely shut and as a result, be left with anxiety and hours of obsessing over myriad possibilities.
A woman only needs to sense a taste of trouble and her mind begins to embellish. At first angry that he would suggest something being awry, I refused to answer and get involved in any drama that I had no way of solving. But it is such a “woman thing” that we feel so overly important—as if only we can solve the issues in the family or life.
Knowing how many women have ruined their retreats by calling home, I hightailed it to the Abbey, huddled into the Quiet Corner, began to breathe and waited for a spirit of goodwill to envelope me. Someone in the choir was singing an ancient hymn… Stoop to my weakness, mighty as thou art … words I needed to hear… and it was then that I could give over my weaknesses… such qualities as fear, anxiety, guilt, power, control– to name a few.
So I forced myself to give it to God and that led to my giving more over than I ever thought possible. Each morning before breakfast I set out for the Abbey and breathed my way toward peace of mind. Staring at the flickering candles and feeling sheltered from the roaring winds outside the stained glass windows, I began to come to some truth. It occurred to me that my grown sons, whom I obsess over, have been out of the house and therefore my tutelage for 20 years. I have not had any power over them during that length of time and now that they are facing major life transitions why would I think I had power over their circumstances now? I could only honor and have faith in what I know of them—that they possess integrity, truth, strength, a modicum of wisdom—that they are loving and deserve love in return—that in fact they have been launched and only life experience would do the rest of the job of forming their personas.
With that truth now clearly imprinted in my heart I stood up, lit a candle for each of them, released any control I thought I had, and left the abbey a changed woman. Each day there after I went back, lit two more candles and walked away, leaving my self-inflicted burdens behind.
Questions To Ponder:
Do you overrate your importance in your family’s life? What part of your role is outlived? How can you begin to release your power and control over others to free yourself up to become the elder…the one who knows but does not act or teach?
In what circumstances can you begin to stop inviting intrusion and seek seclusion?