I've been listening to CDs in the car a lot lately (All 3 NPR stations that I usually listen to on the way to work are having fundraisers - Maine PR, NH PR, and WGBH). I recently pulled out my Leonard Cohen compilation after having neglected it for quite a while, and was struck by some of his phrasing. From "The Sisters of Mercy"
Yes you who must leave everything that you cannot control.
It begins with your family, but soon it comes around to your soul.
Well I've been where you're hanging, I think I can see how you're pinned:
When you're not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you've sinned
It really hit me in a strange spot. You see, I am a control freak by nature and upbringing. (I can hear the sardonic voices saying,"No Kidding! what was your first clue?") I don't cry. I was a crybaby until I was like, 8 years old, and I finally got it under control and now I just don't cry. Nope, nohow, noway. At least not for the 'normal reasons'. If I cry, it is out of rage or frustration - not sadness, not empathy. Plays havoc with grieving, as you can guess. But I digress.
Control freak. Well, one of the first things I learned about marriage and family is that there is no human way that I can be in control. I cannot control my husband and his needs, desires, or emotions. I am not in control of my bodily cycles (despite the siren songs of the pharmaceutical industry). During pregnancy, I learned how little control I could have over my being. Labor and birth was another crash course in surrender, followed by the years of motherhood (which do not ever end, I think) to teach me just how little I really am in charge. I do not say this in an attempt to abrogate my responsibility, but rather to say that, try as hard as I might, it isn't up to me in the end.
And that ties in to the essential need to respect that God put things in some kind of order, and that I have a responsibility to find that TRUTH and follow that plan. Hence, obedience, submission, bending to the will of God.
I think that many people leave (the church, their families, their marriages, their jobs) because of a realization that whatever it is, is something they cannot control.
I was struck by a line in the story of the dream lady
I don't want to idealize our marriage. Bai is strong-willed and so am I. The sparks fly. I'm tired all the time. Any good in our lives comes from God.
I can definitely relate. I'm an oldest kid, so is my husband. We are both strong-willed and used to being in charge. I have a horrific fear of loss of control. Some of that is due to childhood trauma, but most is (face it) just me. One of the best things that happened in our marriage was learning how and when to fight. Fighting fair, fighting for the sake of our love and our Sacrament. Being willing to stand up to ourselves and each other for the sake of what God is calling us to be. That is what it is all about.