We grow up thinking that love can solve everything; that if we only love one another enough, we can save each other. But as we grow older, we learn that this is not true. We learn that there are times in life when we can only watch from shore with a hand outstretched while those we love are treading water just beyond our reach. There are times when there is nothing we can say or do to reach them. There are times when people must save themselves. There are times when we have to wait for the Universe to throw them a rope; an opportunity to reclaim their dreams; a chance to reclaim their self esteem.
I have been partnered for 29 years. The first years were volatile; dramatic and passionate; terrifying and wonderful. These were the years in which we learned how to be in a relationship; how to confront our fears of commitment; how to hold our boundaries; how to fight fairly; and how to apologize. The really difficult times have come from those things that are beyond our control. They come when life pulls the rug out from under us; when we experience a loss that is too painful to bare; when we are subjected to an injustice that shakes our faith in the Universe; when the stresses of every day life cause us to lose track of our Selves and our dreams.
For my husband, it was the loss of his daughter. She did not die, but she was lost to him. Her mother took her to live in Mexico when she was two years old, again when she was four, and then again when she was eleven. This child was ripped in and out of her father’s life, time and time again, for years at a time. The circumstances around each separation were dramatic, unfair and surreal. The last one did my husband in. It left him emotionally exhausted and deeply indebt. It precipitated a series of decisions that led him further and further from him Self; and further and further from his dreams.
During those years, there was nothing I could say or do to make things better for my husband. Things turned around for him three years ago when he was offered a new job; the chance to do work that makes good use of his empathetic nature and sharp mind; work that helps people. This work takes him to remote areas of Canada and Australia. He gets to work with people who live close to the land. He loves it and he is good at it. And I can see him coming back to him Self; remembering what he is capable of; reclaiming his dreams; and learning to trust in the Universe once more.
Now it is me who is struggling to keep my head above water. I am going through a difficult stage where it feels like nothing is working out. I am developing projects, meeting potential partners, producing communication resources, but nothing seems to be falling into place. In fact, it actually seems like everything is working against me. I am feeling beaten up by the Universe and beaten down. I am trying to hold on to my faith; believe that things will be okay; believe that there will be new challenges, new relationships, and new adventures that bring purpose, joy and pleasure back into my life. But some days, all I can see are losses, disappointments and grief. My husband offers encouragement from the shoreline but the words ring hollow. There are some battles that we must wage alone. This one is between me, my demons, and the Universe.
Beautiful, soul-searching writing, Kim. Want to know the best thing about it? It let’s other readers who are feeling the same way (the Universe seems to be testing humanity at this point) that we are not alone. Even more important is addressing the confusion around, “But, I’m a good person. Why is this happening to me? Why am I so stuck?” I wonder if there is even one seeker on the planet who hasn’t been, in the last several years or, who is now, enduring this type of pummeling. Why the pummeling? I don’t know–it could be about a new type of leadership, I suppose, along the lines of, “You can’t be a grief counselor if you’ve never grieved.” Or maybe some of us really are being ‘purified by fire’ to make a shift to another dimension, as in, “Okay. Let’s see what’s REALLY important to you.” I’m feeling worn out, too; I keep telling myself it’s something bigger than individuals–it is a higher plan and, truth is, I really do want to know what is most important to me. A lot of ugly stuff has been surfacing in these last years. I work and work to let go but it’s a process–not an easy process. So hang on, friend Kim. We’re in this together.
Pam…thank you for your insights and your empathy. I have actually found some shifts going on in my thinking and my feelings about things over the last year but they are hard to describe. I have wondered if all of the prophecies about days of darkness and the end of time are really describing an inner process that goes on within each one of us. It is good to know that I am not alone!! Kp
Wow, Kim! I never thought of it being on the inside–that’s so full of insight. Incredible.
You know, you should write a post about that. It would put a whole other light on the subject that I’m sure would ease people’s minds.
I understand your post from so many levels. One is my son who is, to put it mildly, not doing well, and there is nothing I can do about it. It is hard to watch, painful. You understand this from both perspectives. I too have felt like the universe is working against me. Every thing it seems I have tried became a dead end. I am not sure if I am on track with my “calling” if you will. All I can/could do is/was keep the faith and hope and be ready for what shows up. Although, I know there is nothing I can say or do to “make it better” for you, I think your reaching out in your blog will help others, like me, not feel so alone, and help yourself with an outlet. Sometimes what I tell people when they are weathering storms is to tie themselves to a tree and let the storm rage and when the sun comes out, untie themselves and watch the sun come through. P.S. I use this one for myself as well. Janice
Thanks Janice…..it is good to know that we are not alone with our feelings or our experiences. It is also helpful to remind each other that we have weathered similar storms before. I like the tree metaphor! Kp