If I had a blog, today I would write about the desire to fix the lives of the ones I love.
Humans are born meddlers. There is something within us that, for good or ill, drives us to get involved in other people’s lives. I am no exception. My motives are pure: I want the people I love to be happy. I look at their struggles and and am compelled to make a plan for escape. In the moment it all seems so clear, so elementary: If Mom would just do this, or if Dad would just do that, they would be so much better off. I offer advice and if that doesn’t work, I throw myself into high gear and start making changes on my own.
Just today, I caught myself trying to take charge of a friend’s issues with boundaries. I want her to let go of the desire to please people at the expense of her own well-being, so what do I do? I start telling my friend what to do: “Tell your friends this,” and “Ask them not to do that.” I volunteer to call and cancel engagements, to make up excuses, to take the fall for any negative feedback that comes my friend’s way. I’m rockin’ and rollin’, taking names and baking hams until I get home and sit down with my book of favorite quotations. The book falls open to the words of an unknown writer: “Your work is not to drag the world kicking and screaming into a new awareness. Your job is to simply do your work… sacredly, secretly, and silently… and those with ‘eyes to see and ears to hear’, will respond.” I close my eyes and sigh, “I’ve done it again, haven’t I?”
I have fallen prey to the fatal flaw of do-gooders: Assuming I know what is best for my fellow human beings. On a good day I have the insight to guide myself along the road of life and the only gift I am worthy to give is a recounting of my own journey, should offer some guidance in its telling. My companions will know what to make of my stories, what to keep and what to leave behind, and that is their choice to make, not mine.
The prattle in my mind is quiet now; the voices of scheming and planning silenced. I feel my consciousness open like a flower, letting in the sound of rain pattering on my window. Thunder rumbles in the valley and mist rises along Hawk Ridge as the cool breeze dances among the ferns on my patio. Another chapter is written in my Trail Journal, a story to tell about the power that lives in letting go.