Avoiding Feelings

copyright: Karen Larsen photography

When I am in this place, I avoid writing. I know I need to. I don’t want to. I fight it. It is because I am sad, so very, very sad….and I need to access my sorrow, feel my emotions, and explore my feelings….and I don’t want to. I have been very sad the last several weeks. I have just kept myself really busy. I mean, I am a busy person anyway. It isn’t hard to do. But as soon as I have any down-time and my heart says, Oh, you have time for me now…. my brain says, I don’t think so and I find something else to do.

I have known for six hours that I need to write today. Yesterday I tried to polish off a few more of my wedding tasks, and I was told, Carin, just stop and cry. Do it now! You know you need to. I crumpled up on the love seat, the tears started flowing and just kept going for 45 minutes. I had plenty to do. After some serious ugly crying, I read a few scriptures, said a prayer, had a few insights and inspiration….then ran to take a shower and tackle my day. I ran all day long. By the evening, when it was time to make dinner, I was too tired. I was so grateful I had picked up that rotisserie chicken and threw on a pot of rice (my guys are hard pressed to eat vegetables anyway🤨) and even though it was my night for the dishes, I let them sit until this morning. I have known since I got up, that I really didn’t have anything pressing on me today and I would be free to just sit and write. And what did I do instead? A few more wedding tasks, wash the dishes, finish a book, and read my blog before I made my self start writing. I could have read the entire blog, taken all of my writing time and never even bothered…..just wasted the whole time. And now I have been writing two paragraphs and still have not even started to discuss what my feelings are…..except how sad I am. I am so good at stalling and procrastination!! It is really just my attempt to make myself start the process. Ugh!

Don’t you just love my self talk?

Be brave Carin, move forward. I am sad about the wedding. I am really happy for my boy! His bride is beautiful and really just perfect for him and we all really, really like her. There aren’t any problems with the wedding. Things are coming along just fine and there really isn’t a lot of stress. I am a really great plate spinner, so the balancing act isn’t too difficult for me. I am sad about people………people I love……..people who won’t be there………people who haven’t been there, people who still aren’t there and aren’t really in any kind of an emotional place to be able to be there. The people are what (who) is important to me….. I don’t care about all of the things or the place. But I am so very, very sad about the people. The closer it gets to the wedding, the more clearly I am reminded that the people are not there. We will have plenty of other people there and some of them are very important to me. But some other very important people, will not be there, and actually participating in the event, without them, will remind me of how sad I am about that and how my heart wanted them there. When I really let myself think about that, I am so full of sorrow I think I could just hug the floor again….for several more days.

There is nothing I can do about them not being there. They have been invited. They know. But they are choosing not to come. They didn’t come to my wedding and they have not come to any of my sons weddings either. My life reminds them that their life is not what they want it to be and so they avoid a relationship with me. I am so full of sorrow that they do not really know me or my kids or my family. So very, very full of sorrow.

Drew tries to remind me that we are building that kind of a family in the future. We are attending our kids’ weddings. We will attend our grandchildren’s weddings and significant events. We are creating those kinds of relationship into the future generations. My children and my grandchildren will have those kinds of families and relationships. But I am so very sad that part of my family is missing and I do not have those kinds of relationships with them.

I was thinking about this the other day. Do we hold ourselves back from blessings that could be ours because we don’t want to change, or because we are afraid of what might happen if we try? What things would be available to us if we went outside of our comfort zone and reached out in love to someone we have lost contact with? As Bob Goff would say, What if we weren’t afraid? (My friend Linzy sent me an amazing book! Bob Goff’s Everybody, Always! What a GREAT book! Thanks Linz!)

With my people and the wedding? It is not because I have not reached out. It is because when I reach out, they are uncomfortable and my efforts to encourage, to them, feels like I am pushing my agenda. I have to wait for them. They are not ready. It has been 30 years and they are still not ready. I do not know if they will ever be ready. And in the mean time, the gap between us keeps getting wider and wider and wider. I reach out once in awhile to try to bridge the gap, but they remind me that they like it where it is and they do not want to make the effort to come where I am. Unfortunately for them, I do not want to stay where I am. I want to grow and to keep becoming. They think they aren’t moving. But the truth is, they are slipping. It would be nice if we stayed in the same place when we decided that we just needed to rest and wait for awhile before we continued on our journey of becoming. But that is really just an illusion. We are never stagnant. We are either moving forward, or we are slipping backward. There is no staying where we are. And so the gap keeps getting wider, year after year, after year. These huge, milestone events in the lives of my children, just highlight the fact that the gap is ever increasing, and so is my sorrow.

There, I put some of it down. It must be a lot deeper though because now my brain says, don’t I have some other things I can do? This is enough, right? My clue that I am getting closer but have not quite hit the issue yet and I am still avoiding the the feelings. Sometimes I hate knowing myself so well.

copyright: Karen Larsen photography

I had a girlfriend when I moved here who used to say, You know Carin, I just really am not sure I like this whole agency thing. (Agency being the principle that we can choose for ourselves how we will act.) It is a doctrine that is foundational to our lives. We do not control other people. Trying to do so will cause significant damage to them and to us. Agency must be respected and owned if there is going to be moral development and growth. So even when people do things we do not like, we respect their agency to have made that choice. There have to be consequences when your agency restricts or inhibits the use my agency. If everyone did whatever they wanted, there would be chaos. In order to live in a society or a community, agency is respected to the degree that it does not infringe upon the rights of another or cause them harm. That is the basis of law.

Back to my friend, she was speaking as a parent of teenagers. She felt like her teenagers were not being so wise with their agency and she just wanted to tell them what to do and how to do it. She is actually an amazing parent, lest you think less of her. She is one of my role models. When she shared those thoughts with me, I really couldn’t wrap my head around why she would feel that way. After all, I didn’t have any teenagers at that point. But with or without teens, with the wedding people, sometimes I feel that way. I wish they would hear me when I want to say, Your choices are making you miserable! You could have so much more happiness and joy in your life if you just did it MY way. But that would infringe upon their agency, you see. So I just have to wait. I can pray. I can cry. I can feel sorrow and pain, but eventually, I have to come to the place where I love them, regardless of their agency…..I love them enough to let them live as they choose, even if those choices hurt me.

There….I think that is enough now! Don’t you?

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