My friend Lisa posted the below reading from Melody Beattie’s Language of Letting Go last night. I have been struggling with more than a few things in my life with work and with relationships lately where I’m trying to ‘make’ things happen. My best advice to people when they are trying to make something happen and it doesn’t is to let it go. “It shouldn’t be that hard. If it’s meant to be, it will magically happen,” I say. But, it’s so hard for me to follow that advice when it’s my own agenda that’s at stake.
When I was at the concert this weekend, Eric Church went long on his performance. The schedule was already late, and my body clock is used to heading for the pillows between 9 PM and 10 PM every night. This was the third night in a row that I would be out after midnight, and it looked like it was going to be even later Sunday. They had also run out of food in the arena, and I was hungry. All of a sudden, something hit me in the head really hard. It was a huge beachball that people were volleying back and forth in the crowd. I picked it up and bounced it back behind me. I sort of got mesmerized by the bouncing ball and the people who were passing it around. Then, Jill punched me and made me aware that ‘the wave’ had started going around. It took over the whole stadium in no time flat. We were having fun even though we were tired, hot, hungry and frustrated. If we couldn’t make a concert happen, we could have fun with what we had. And, we definitely had a crowd.
So, when I saw her post this, I thought about the stuff that I’m trying desperately to force at work and in my personal life. I immediately thought of that floating beachball twirling against the night sky. I thought of how good it felt to let go of my frustration and play with my newfound playmates. I heard the crowd enjoying ‘the wave’ – a senseless, meaningless cheer designed just for fun. I felt a huge sigh well up inside of me, and, with the next exhale, I let it go. The tension and the fear and the pressure just melted away. There’s probably something better in store for me than what I’m wanting anyway … or maybe now is just not the time. Thank you, Melody Beattie … you always know just what to say.
Go through the door that’s open
Sometimes, doors close in our lives. No matter how badly we want something, no matter how hard we’ve tried, no matter how much we want to pursue a particular course in our lives, the universe says no.
Many years ago, I wanted passionately and desperately to write a book on codependency. All twenty publishers I queried said the same thing: No. Some said it politely. Some said it by refusing to respond at all. That door just wouldn’t open up, no matter how hard I pushed.
One publisher came back with a counteroffer. “We don’t want the book on codependency,” the editor said. “But how about writing something for us on denial—why people do it, what part it plays in their lives, and how they can become more aware and accepting of reality.”
I accepted the offer. I needed the work. But I wasn’t thrilled. I diligently did my research and wrote the manuscript. About a year later, that same publisher came back to me and asked me to write the book on codependency. I pulled out all my notes and research, including a large notebook in which I had jotted down all my ideas and questions on the subject. As I went through this notebook, I noticed a question written in such large letters it took up the entire page: “What about denial—what part does this play in codependency?” I had written on the next page: “Why do people do it; how can they stop? Help me understand,” I had written, almost as a prayer.
I reused the denial concepts in my codependency book. I had long forgotten about my question to the universe. But God hadn’t.
Sometimes when doors shut, it’s because we’re not ready to walk through the one we want. Maybe the door that’s open in your life is the one you need to walk through. Go ahead, step in. Look around. It might not appear to be as exciting as the one you’d hoped would open, but maybe it’s exactly where you need to be.
Are you trying to push through a door that’s closed in your life? Make life easier on yourself. If you’ve diligently tried to open a door and it’s not budging, look around. Push on a few other doors. See which one opens. Then walk through that one.
God, help me trust your timing in my life. Help me understand that sometimes you know more about saying when than I do.