The real answer to “How’s it going?”

August 29th, 2010

So I feel a bit relieved, as I skim through the posts of the past couple of months, that the tone is mostly positive and upbeat. In reality July and August have been pretty rough. Unfortunately, my “this breakup stuff is incredibly hard sometimes” comment of July 11 is, as it turns out, hyperbolic understatement – it’s rather like being dragged across gravel. Posts about doing fun things with guy/girlfriends have left out an important aspect of each experience: the searing, aching undercurrent of These are things I  would much rather be doing with SOMEONE WHO IS NOT YOU. For the first couple of weeks I either felt like something was being torn out of me or that there was an icy fist somewhere in my stomach; every lovelorn chanteuse plus Michael Bolton and Def Leppard was voicing my thoughts.  Bad poetry was written; agonizing questions were dwelt upon. How is he doing? Is he OK or is this hard for him? If he’s OK but I’m heartbroken, does that mean he wasn’t invested? And finally, I’ve never doubted that this is the right decision, but really, God, can’t I put it off until later? (As if it would be any less excruciating a few more months down the road.)

All of this emotional upheaval has led to a vicious cycle of insomnia followed by sleeping too much followed by insomnia – which has made me, I suspect, not the easiest person to be around. I get bugged at people who aren’t doing things the way I would do them (which is, um, everybody) and sit in silent (but still obvious) disapproval. I refuse to accept the imperfections I see everywhere, basing my expectations of the world on the way I think it should be rather than the way it is, and acting accordingly – which leads to frustration and resentment.

So that’s the background. Last week a friend shared this quote with me:

Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. … Unless I accept my life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes. (Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, 417.)

I absolutely believe this is true. And I do my best to implement it as much as I can. What’s hard is believing that the seemingly negligible efforts that are all I can manage sometimes actually count for something and are acceptable to God. I guess that’s where humility comes in. That’s a scary thing to pray for, though.

Next post: On man’s ventures into flight and kicking against the pricks. Hopefully it won’t be too long in coming…

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