Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Over five years ago, my hubby and I stood before a minister in his office with a few witnesses and renewed our vows to each other shortly after our 25th wedding anniversary ... quietly, the way we had wanted to do with our first ceremony but were prevented by our families.  

It was very meaningful to both of us. 

It didn't mean we were never married or that we wanted to somehow recapture something we'd lost.  We hadn't.  We just wanted to remind ourselves how deeply committed we were to each other, to refocus our attention on what was important to us both and not allow other things to crowd out our time with each other.  

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I think this journey of healing has its times of commitment and of recommitment.  Sometimes we tend to allow other things to crowd out the simple things we did to become free, and the stuff of life (that kept us bound up in unhealthy patterns of behavior) just creeps into our lives again, as if trying to go unnoticed. 

We eventually spend more time trying to fix other people's problems than trying to look after our own detriment.  And we fall prey to the vicious cycle of living our lives solely for others, spreading ourselves too thinly, getting frustrated that people aren't "coming around" to our way of thinking, resenting the people we are trying to help, becoming more and more unhappy, and questioning the validity of how far we've come in our journey.  

It is not that we haven't changed; it is that we've forgotten that what we have (as the Big Book says) is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.  If our focus is on the outflow of that spiritual condition (i.e., the result of being able to help others) it's like trying to draw a perfect circle with the compass from a geometry set, and then keeping on moving the point of that compass to the edge of the circle in the process.  We end up with something that doesn't look anything like what we intended.  And we blame the pencil, when in reality, the fault lies in the fact that we didn't keep the point of the circle at the centre.  The anchor is in the centre. That's the whole point.

It might seem paradoxical that in order to be better able to help others, we need to focus on our own relationships with ourselves and with God.  But that is exactly what must happen.  Relationships with others will be clouded otherwise, and we'll shoot ourselves in the foot every time we try to help another with the attitude that we have to be the one who fixes that person's problem.  

I had this pointed out to me today after I had told someone I trust about a situation that is developing in a few of my relationships.  When confronted with the truth that I was allowing other people's dysfunction to pull me back into a state of trying to fix, control, influence, and/or comfort them, I realized that I needed to renew my commitment to my own journey and let go of my need to control the outcome of their journeys.  

Even that realization gave me such relief that I could feel the tension physically leave me, as I let go of my need to rescue people from themselves and I  concentrated on the needs of ... the one in the mirror.  Hypocrisy fled; humility and peace took over.  Something shifted: my perspective was restored just by recommitting to what's essential to my own healing.

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