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Friday, September 10, 2010

The Distraction of Something Good (or not) From What Is Best

This spoke to me.  I thought of teenagers and people less experienced than myself so easily drawn into the superficial distractions of life around them.  The list on this video doesn't draw me in, and I felt the attitude creeping in that is usually portrayed with an all-knowing  a "more knowing" look and thoughts of how frustrating it is to watch the "unknowing" buy into all this distraction.

However... my family is planning a trip to an amusement park to celebrate my brother's 40th birthday.  This past weekend found me in rare usual form when in the midst of getting ready for a family event.  Frazzled over gathering ticket money, arranging transportation, planning food, the phone ringing off the wall (if I had actually hung it up, which I hadn't... so it was ringing from virtually every flat surface in my house throughout the day).

Too often family events become my nightmare as people mess with the plan, rethink the plan, rethink the date & time, don't have transportation, can't afford the plan, want to dictate food assignments, can't afford the food assignments, show up late, change the menu the day of the event, or just talk every detail to death.  I am almost always in the position of being the only one willing to or responsible insane enough to sew it all together into a coherent activity.

I know this griping sounds ugly.  It looks ugly too.  I dearly love my family, but I resent being in charge of accommodating everyone's suggestions, which feel like demands.  Too many years of doing it and the family keeps growing - which just leads to more suggestions and more hoop jumping desires to strangle family members with said hoop.  I am literally numb, exhausted and angry - event after event after event.  And of course the guilt from those feelings eat me up.

After sharing yet another frenzied rant eloquent analysis of my frustration, I summed it all up to my darling husband this way... because he just never gets enough of the insanity that overcomes me a week before a family get together.. "Am I being wrong?  Am I being selfish?  I don't know how much is right?  I don't know if I'm being wrong!!!!  I just want to run away!"  I lost the ability to use any words I learned past first grade.  I've been found sobbing on my knees at the foot of my bed after yet another Thanksgiving Day breakdown.

I remember when my mother came out of rehab and she pulled back from us.  I heard a lot of "I have to focus on me.  This is MY time."  I understand that better now that I'm no longer 19, but there is still a feeling of oppression when I consider the role I've played in my family from a young age.  I'm sure I've lost the ability to discern how much is enough... apparently "Too Much" will eventually reveal itself - but by then - it's too late. 

Today I'm waiting for the plumber to show up.  Water is being conserved - no laundry, dishes, shower, housework - and I'm sitting in the grass in my front yard.  I'm providing amusement to a variety of bugs, and apparently a landing strip for skydiving spiders.  2 Daddy long legs have run across my composition book in the time I've taken to write this.  I feel as though I'm on vacation, it is that refreshing.  I should step away from the phone (a huge distraction for me) and have this little bit of time each day...

God loves a cheerful giver.  I'm not being cheerful about all of this.  I can twist it all up into a need for changing my attitude, or I could be honest.  Honestly, I'm not doing this to please God.  I'm doing it to make up for and fix all of the weirdness of my family.  I'm doing it to give my family, and myself, what I idealized as the normal family - when I was just a kid in a dysfunctional home with an alcoholic mother and no dad on the premises, watching television programs with moms baking pies and dads going to work, and Walton family holidays. 

My family is my distraction from what is best.  They haven't done this TO me, I've done it to myself.  Trying to transform a messy tangle of people into a family with idealized traditions and interactions is an exhausting job that I became convinced was a necessary one.

The main problem with being a people pleaser is that you can't please God... there are just too many people.  They want too many different things. 

I have to accept that my mother wasn't playing the role of martyr, and forgive her for running out of physical, emotional or spiritual resources while I was still in need - physically, emotionally and spiritually ... because that is the superglue that keeps me stuck here.  I have judged her in a way that I can't bear to be judged myself.

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