Thursday, December 03, 2009

A Breath of Fresh Air

Ahhhh. My nose has cleared enough I can get at least half a breath of air. The additional oxygen gives me strength to type, so here I am again. 

Last week, a friend called, frantic. She's been having a major and on-going struggle with her SIL, and that SIL had just called to say she was on her way over. D was sure the SIL was coming over for the showdown at the I'm OK/You're OK corral that D had been rehearsing in her head for weeks. For the last month or more, D has spent most of the time practicing what she'd say when she stepped into that corral. She spends hours reminding herself of the best approach, building counter-arguments to the responses she imagines from her SIL.

Breathless on the phone, D asked me to pray that she'd be open to Spirit and to what her SIL had to say, that she'd be gentle but would remember all she needed to say. Then she hurried off to get ready, completely sure her SIL had realized D was pulling away from their relationship and would demand to know why. 

45 minutes later, D called back to say the SIL didn't want to fight. She came to drop off a gift in memorial of D's cat, who died recently. As D marveled, I wondered why she spent so much time and energy fighting with someone who didn't even know they were fighting. 

Of course, it wasn't long until the Universe mirrored that fun little judgement to me.

Our family Christmas has reached critical mass this year--too many people/work schedules/opinions to make everything work out smoothly. The problems involve the distance between my brother's house and the rest of us, kids who will only be home a few days, the need to accommodate the schedules of various boy and girl friends.

Tuesday night we had a discussion about all this. It became painfully clear that no one else is going to budge, that they all expect me to go along and get along.  Later, I drove away from Mom's, spluttering to myself.

Just once, I thought. Just once I want to be the one throwing the fit to get my way. This time, I'm going to speak up. They won't like it. Jeff will say....  And then I will say....

I hurtled through the darkness, fully engaged in a fight no one else knew we were having. As I rounded a corner, two deer leaped into my headlights. I grabbed for Cassie and stomped on the brakes. We skidded to a halt less than a foot in front of a doe--the proverbial "deer in the headlights" come to life.

If deer communicate, that one's still dining out on the story of the maniac woman who almost ran her down and then laughed so hard she blew snot all over the windshield.

In the split second I thought we were going to collide, I saw my silly self in that deer's terrified eyes. And I recognized I was doing the exact same thing that D had been doing. 

The kids and I may go to Jeff's. We may not. But whatever we do or don't do, I'm not going to waste any more of my life fighting about it. Especially when I'm fighting with my self.


Deb Shucka said...

Welcome back! I missed you. This was definitely worth waiting for. I absolutely loved the "showdown at the I'm OK/you're OK corral." I do the fighting with myself thing a lot, too, and then when I finally do find the courage to speak up for myself am always amazed at the other party's reaction. It's never ever as bad as I expect.

The other thing I noticed reading this is that everyone wants to be together for the holidays - or at least they think they do. There's a lot of love running through this. I think, too, all families reach the point where traditions shift, and that's hard no matter what.

I'm absolutely confident you'll find the perfect compassionate solution for the people whose needs are greatest. Love.

mamatulip said...

Wow. I had a very similar experience with a deer many years ago that completely changed the way I was thinking about things at the time.

Since then I have always felt that the deer is my animal guide.

Go Mama said...

"the maniac woman who almost ran her down and then laughed so hard she blew snot all over the windshield."

Welcome home, my friend! Good to read your words!
Clarity is such a wonderful thing, isn't it? I hope you enjoy the holidays, wherever you are. Isn't that the point too?

And, I don't need to add but will anyway, it's completely OK to do your own thing once in a while, say, every other, not hosting, joining, not joining, traveling, not traveling. We put WAY too much pressure on that one week, esp when the "gift" of the holidays could be enjoyed any day of the year when you think about it.

Love you. Love your deers. said...

So much doesn't really matter, does it? And if someone gets mad at us, is it really the end of the world?

You could bring that into the discussion when they are giving you a hard time.

"If I were killed in a deer on car collision, would you still hate me for not coming to Christmas dinner?"

Maybe they'd think, or maybe they'd laugh, or maybe they'd back slowly away?

Carrie Wilson Link said...

I hear ya, sister!

Amber said...

I hate those one person fights. lol I have them all the time.

read this: