As I gaze out the window of my oft-times harried life, it seems to me that I often see the same landscapes. Over and over again. And planted in those larger scenes are the faces I’ve seen before with voices echoing the same messages I’ve heard before.
Face pressed against the window pane of my existence, I marvel, perhaps even delight, in seeing the replay of my most frustrating moments. I see the anger and injustice that I perceive grows from others. And I, almost unknowingly, reach over to hit the rewind button. I feel justified in my own anger and malice toward those who do things to complicate my life.
I now realize that when I act this way, I have chosen to orbit the challenges and problems. For whatever reason, I have chosen to keep them close. I have chosen my misery.
“Chosen” is a convicting word. Some who are in a similar circumstance may wince a bit at its use. Why, we all ask, would we choose to do what is painful?
I believe we choose to act this way because, deep down, we think we have the power to make a difference . . . to bring about change. Actually, we do have some capacity for that. Yet, when we target change to happen in others, we lock into a circular path that leads nowhere. In doing so, we orbit. We spin around. We turn the problems over and over again in our hands like some sort of a puzzle. While in the force of that recurring nightmare and our attempts to stabilize everything about us, we rarely find the key to unlock the puzzle’s secret.
The problem with orbiting is that over time our energy begins to wane and we begin a spiral down into the problem itself. We want to own the situation and manipulate it. Without fail, that sort of fixation allows gravity to pull us into the central mass of negativity and pain.
I’m discovering (but have not mastered) the concept of letting go. By releasing those things I truly have no control over, I am freed to go on with my life without the constant reruns of my bitterness, helplessness, and hopelessness. Indeed, I am freed to navigate to where I need to be and want to be — almost at will. Or, if I’m not totally successful in releasing, I gain the blessing of a wider orbit, one that includes greater experiences and relationships.
The key is in deciding what I am truly responsible for and what is outside my realm. I am responsible for me. I am responsible for how I interact with others. I am responsible for my relationship with One who is greater than me. And while that is a tremendous set of responsibilities, it’s a burden that each one of us is totally capable of bearing.
Let go. Share heavy things with others. Escape your orbit around the negative things that can capture your heart, mind, and soul.