Being Still

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Being still is not easy for me. I’m not talking about not moving or not being able to just rest. I can laze around the house for days with the best of them. I’m talking about not taking action when someone in my life is hurting. Most of the time, there’s nothing we can really do, other than be there to support or listen to them. My problem comes from wanting to always “fix” the problem. Some problems can’t be fixed. Some problems just have to pass with time. That’s where I get into trouble.

I doubt I’m alone in this. I’m sure many of us feel the need to “fix” when a loved one is in pain. But what do we do when they tell us that they just need some time? What do we do when they tell us they need to go away to deal with whatever is plaguing them, especially if it means not talking to them for an unknown amount of time? Do we just let them walk away without letting them know that we care or that there may be another way to deal with the issues? Do we sit silent?

I don’t know the answer. Part of me says give them the space and time they need. Part of me screams, “No! If you do that, they’ll never come back.” The war raging in my head between these two voices is giving me a headache. My instinct is to let the person know I care, that there’s a way we can deal with everything without a lot of stress, without complete silence. Then I start to think that I’m just pressuring the person because I’m uncertain and uncomfortable with the situation. I should just shut up. I’m not good at being still when there is so much uncertainty.

I am trying. I’m not completely succeeding, but I am trying. I have resisted many impulses to send messages. A few times, I’ve given in. I don’t want it to be thought that I don’t care, and I don’t know which road to take. Does another person going away and needing space mean I need to not express myself? Am I allowed to talk about how I feel? I’ve spent so much of my life keeping everything inside that when I finally decided to stop holding back, the floodgates busted open. I can’t close them now. Everything comes out at some point, whether it’s a trickle or a flood.

You could argue that by writing this, I’m not being still. I’m letting it be known that I’m struggling with the situation. You’d be right. But I can’t hold it all in. I can’t pretend that I don’t miss someone I care a lot about. I can’t pretend that I’m not scared she’ll never come back. I’ve made the mistake before of rushing a situation that needed time. I have to resist that constant urge to “fix” things I can’t fix. I have to trust this will all work out, and that is not something I’m good at. A friend told me that being still is the most difficult thing to do, but that it’s important to know how to do it.

It’s time for me to learn a new skill.

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