for a year i have been trying to piece back the relationship with my ex-partner. only after becoming emotionally bankrupt and spiritually exhausted recently did i come to grips with the fact that it is beyond my control.
i was guided by a good friend to visit a 12 step couples recovery group. (no i won't tell you who is there or what they said or what i think about it, so DONT ASK ME) i was hesitant because i wasn't in a relationship with my ex, although i was still thinking "if only". i called her in a last ditch effort, at 3am to beg her to come with me. i thought it might help us. we both wanted to be together but we just weren't behaving kindly to each other.
we went genuine in our resolve to work toward the goal of being coupled again. but it is obvious that all the kings horses and all the kings men aren't any better at people than they are at eggs. if in fact humpty was an egg... it never says so but we just assume he was. but i digress.
one of the 12 steps to this program is to recommit to your partner. now that is a problem because i don't have one. it won't stop me from going though because being around good role models willing to show me what communication looks like will help me regardless of my relationship status. but i really can't say i belong to a 12 step when i am missing one part so i amuse myself by telling people that mine only goes to eleven. this serves three purposes for me. it shows me what genre of movies they have seen and their sense of humor. it also affords them the opportunity to ask more about the issues i am working on, perhaps in an attempt to find more commonality with each other. i also see a counselor and i am certain she will fill in that one gap from the program with more than enough work to last me a while.
Step One- Calling Dr House
I was watching a rerun of House. He had been committed to a mental health facility. His therapist said to him today, "Greg, you are still trying to fix things you can't fix..... not accepting it and not getting passed them. Try again."
For most of my life I have believed that forgiveness from my higher power was out of reach because according to my religion (or the men running it) I was no longer worthy and would never enter the kingdom of heaven. I got comfortable with that by my 40s and was completely happy sitting on my chaise waiting to go to hell. Then finally I learned what grace meant and that it is and has always been given to me every morning I open my eyes. Fallible, imperfect, unwise decision maker, sometimes selfish, me. Forgiven before I get there. Too easy.
For a year now I have been struggling to put back pieces of a broken relationship. I was convinced that if I could be different, apologize for everything, even all the things I had no reason to apologize for. Go down on my knees and beg. Disconnect myself from everyone and everything that could remotely irritate my ex-partner, that she would absolve me and I would be a good person finally? again? Did I mention I have done this for a year? Well, it didn't work. No matter what I did, said, apologized for I was never forgiven. So that meant to me that I was to live my life as the evil, awful, toxic, "do not touch" person. Forgiveness therefore, impossible.
Enter Greg House's shrink. Well now, isn't that interesting? The blood of Christ was too easy but I was still looking for salvation. I just moved the object and responsibility of my self worth to someone else. I needed to really WORK for it, PAY for it and FIX it. That way I can prove that I am unforgivable, unlovable when they choose not to forgive me. That I accept.
So lets see, I dismiss Grace because its too easy and uncomfortable to accept that I am loved no matter what. I run after human forgiveness that doesn't exist for me and I find some weird comfort in that discomfort. So we have the eternal, external.... what am I missing? Rather who? Oh yeah me.
I seem to have stumbled upon a few truths coming in through the out door. As my understanding of Christ grows I have come to realize that I am powerless to keep him from forgiving me. Only after total emotional and psychological exhaustion have I come to the realization that I also have no power to make anyone forgive me for anything. You have no idea how hard that was to write down. Its uncomfortable to let go of a notion I have carried all my life. It feels as if I have been swept away in a raging river after losing a secure hand hold. I keep catching myself reaching for another one to get back to the uncomfortable comfort that was familiar when I thought I could control it all. But there is this voice that is screaming LET GO! And so I do and will continue to because its obvious the old way just wasn't working.
So now that I've got that down pretty clear in my head, I will work to keep it in practice. My next project is to learn to forgive myself. Believe it or not I have had several days of refusing to chastise myself for everything. The clarity and peace I have felt has been odd but not awful. I expect it to become comfortable soon enough.
So here is to the new year. Letting go of false power and self recrimination.