It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves. – Shakespeare
The Dinner Out
My husband and I had a rare opportunity to go out and meet another couple for drinks. I cannot remember what year it was when we last went out with another couple…possibly his birthday in 2009.
My Dad graciously agreed to accept the two urchins for a sleepover for the first time (I was praying for him).
So I was really surprised when I didn’t have a good time.
I know the man because he’s a client of my husband’s and we’ve had him to the house for dinner. His jokes when his wife isn’t around can be kind of raunchy, in the “ask the waitress if there are any other tattoos he can’t see” kind of way. He brings gifts like wine for the table and See’s candy from California for the kids, but often leaves my husband with the tab when he’s invited him out.
That sounds like I don’t like him but actually I like him well enough and I was glad to see him on this occasion.
Then, I met his wife.
The conversation turned to Doberman Pinschers. The wife has a long history with loving these dogs. My husband mentioned that his brother once had some and made a comparison to another dog breed, the Rottweiler. He said,”Dobermans will keep someone out of the yard but a Rottweiler will let them in the house and then not let them leave.”
“Why would I want a dog like that?”
“I didn’t say you would want a dog like that.”
“Well you’re putting yourself out there as an expert on Rottweilers but I don’t think I believe you.”
“I didn’t say I was an expert on Rottweilers.”
Her husband tried to start telling me various stories, but every time he started she cut him off and started a conversation with me, to the point that I was apologizing to him.
Now this woman and I would theoretically potentially be friendly – she’s older, but we have somewhat similar backgrounds and she is in a similar profession to the one I used to have. She’s bright and gives off a competent, professional air.
Then she started telling me how her husband would never make it without her. How he “was ADD” and is all over the place. How she does all of the finances and it’s like a full-time job, and how he could never do them. This is a competent man in his fifties who has a very successful business career.
She allows her husband one meal a year at the Golden Corral (a buffet restaurant) because she doesn’t appreciate the gluttony she witnesses there. I forget how she put it, but I felt a bit like I was back in the corporate world with the polite statement she made that really meant,”Those people are disgusting.”
From the second I sat down, my emotions were in neutral. I’m not sure how my emotions knew before I did that we were not going to engage.
It was really loud and I could barely hear her as the night wore on, the music got louder, and it was 11:00 or so. I finally realized that she had tears in her eyes and she was asking me a question I was supposed to answer yes or no. I asked her to repeat herself twice but I still couldn’t hear her, so I just kind of nodded.
She told he how “amazing” I was and gushed on and on. I had no idea what she was talking about. Finally it came out that she was showering me with praise because I gave birth twice. Apparently she always wanted to be a mother, but her first husband didn’t want kids, and by the time she met her current husband his children were grown and he didn’t want any more. She’s terrified of the pain of childbirth but always regretted not having kids and now it was way too late.
I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I had surgery and it was painless. That was for medical reasons, but doctors these days will find an excuse (such as terror and hysteria) to schedule her a c-section, no problem.
I felt a bit badly about the whole event, since it was nice of my Dad to watch the kids and I know my husband assumed it was a great treat just to have the opportunity to get out. He was clearly disappointed when it was obvious I didn’t enjoy myself.
How can you enjoy yourself though when people berate their spouse in front of you, even if it’s cloaked in love?
The oddest part is how incredibly neutral my energy was. I wanted to check myself for a pulse. No matter how I tried to smile and be pleasant, to raise my vibration, it wasn’t budging. It was like someone turned my internal temperature down to 50 degrees and it was staying there.
Destiny – Who Is Responsible?
Men heap together the mistakes of their lives, and create a monster they call Destiny.” – John Oliver Hobbes
The challenge here is that we all have made obvious mistakes in life. Who knows, maybe mine are far worse than hers. I’m certainly not going to judge. Yet part of me thought,”If you really wanted kids, why did you choose two men who didn’t want them?” It’s so obvious, right? But how many times do we make trade-offs and then live with regrets, because what appeared before us and was available wasn’t the answer to all of our prayers, just some of them?
We need work, and a job appears. Prospects aren’t good, so we accept it with gratitude. Then we spend the next ten or twenty years in a career we didn’t want, or with a ridiculously long commute, or missing our kid’s childhood. Why do we do that?
I think it’s fear. Fear that there’s nothing else for us. Fear that if we don’t grab that thing, there will be no other jobs. Or husbands. Or whatevers.
Why is it so hard to believe that what we actually want is obtainable?
I wonder how often it crosses people’s minds that crossroads like this are, in a way, tests?
Sure it’s tough to have faith. It’s really tough when bills are there needing to be paid, right in front of our face. It’s tough when we’re wondering if we’re just chasing a foolish dream for a career or for the kind of life we really wish to be living, or when we’ve had a cavernous dry spell and someone’s offering us company.
Those are the pivotal moments though. The decisions we make when times are toughest are those that make or break us, sending us off on a course with destiny…the one we chose, not one that was chosen for us.
It’s in those turning point moments that it’s MOST important to not just accept what happened to appear. In those moments, we can get very quiet and ask,”What happens if I say yes to this? What’s possible if I say no?”
Sometimes we fear just being honest with ourselves. “What if I really looked inside and had a heart-to-heart with myself and then I realized, I’m doing it all wrong?” Oh no, we don’t like to look there. It’s scary!
But we do need to look. If you make a choice from a place of fear, it’s never a good one. In fact, you could make it easy on yourself and say,”Whatever I think I “should” do right now, I’m going to do the opposite!” You can take any tactic that you want, and you can’t really avoid cycles that ARE your destiny, but since that’s not always clear to you in the moment, there’s something else you can do.
Do a gut check. How does it feel if you accept that job or that woman or man into your life? Do you get a sinking feeling?
Once, when I was upset, I listened to a song that had a line,”Let it go.” In the song it’s sung over and over, I don’t know how many times. Every time I hit a rough spot, I would say it in my head or sing it out loud, over and over, along with the band. Eventually, I did.
That’s the kind of thing you need to do sometimes when the road diverges and you can’t see your way out of the forest. You need to locate that part of you that stands up for you and knows what to do. The warrior in you. The strong part that will just not lie down in the road.
Then you take that part and let it see Truth for you. Even if just for a split second. That part of you is not going to take any crap, not even from the part of you (which could be 99%) that wants to give in and say it’ll work out somehow anyway. No, it won’t. Not if you are giving up what your soul wants to do. So take that moment of insight into how strong you can be (that’s your soul talking to you) and, as scary as it may be, just say no to that opportunity.
It also helps if you say,”The universe has my back, the universe has my back, the universe has my back…”