I’ve been thinking that thought a lot lately. Lots of things in my life have made it a multi-times a day appearance. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be…
Today I had breakfast with my friend Sue and we were talking about our arthritis pains. When I got in the turbo minivan to leave, I thought, “I’m too young to have this much arthritis. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be.”
It hit me–literally an eye-popping moment–that maybe this is exactly as it’s supposed to be. One of the things I really liked about Buddhism when I looked into it a few years ago was the idea that things just are. Identifying them as “good” or “bad” comes from our egos and are meaningless in the grand scheme of the Universe*.
A small piece of me is a control freak. I want to be able to guide things along the way I want them to go. Buying a house was one of the most stressful things for me because I controlled none of it. I was at the mercy of the realtor, mortgage broker, insurance agents, attorneys, etc. As much as I tried to keep everyone on the path I needed them to be on, it never worked as smoothly as I thought it should. In the end, everything turned out as I wanted, but at what cost? Lots of lost energy trying to control the uncontrollable.
I actually thought I had truly gotten past that phase of my life. My mantra is “it is what it is.” Doesn’t that sound so advanced? So zen? But while I was thinking it repeatedly, there were still areas of my life I was trying to control.
I think the last six months have been the Universe’s way of teaching me a valuable lesson. The only thing I can control is my reaction to things.
Every one of my children has made poor life choices recently. I don’t love them any less. I adore them completely. I don’t hold the poor choices against them. What I do feel is a deep, overwhelming sadness that they have let Opportunities out of their grasps. They had things that would have made their lives easier–in my thoughts any way. (As I typed that last sentence, it occurs to me that there was no guarantee that their lives would have been easier. Another wrong thought on my end!)
Yes, their choices are not ones I would have chosen for them. But they are what they are. The wise thing to do is accept that and move on.
However, as a parent, I will continue to wish for the smooth path for my children. I want them to lead blessed, charmed lives free of angst and regret. I wish they could learn from my mistakes (some that are similar to choices they have made). Unfortunately, as the parent, I am not really a valued resource for my children. Just as my parents weren’t for me–because I didn’t let them.
I’ll accept this message from the Universe. I will try my best to accept that it is what it is. As is my nature, I will forget that simple message over and over again, having to relearn it each time.
As for my arthritis? It still pisses me off.
*To me, the “Universe” is like a giant corporation with God as the CEO. I don’t think he has time to worry about me and my petty problems on a day-to-day basis. Instead, he has assigned me an agent–like my State Farm guy.