Words of Comfort: It's His Journey Too
If there's anything I know about parenting, it is this: Parenting is the single most humbling experience you can have. You make plans for this child you have helped to "create", and life simply has other things in mind for him or her.
Oh, yes, you are a big part of the child's journey - but in full control? To paraphrase comedienne/author Julia Sweeney's excellent book: God Says, Ha!!
The best-laid plans are only that: plans. Want your kid to be President? (yikes, who would want that?!?!) He or she had better want that too - and have the gifts to go along with the desire.
A few years after Ben was diagnosed with schizophrenia, a friend sent me to a "psychic astrologist" I'll call Zena.Don't laugh. I was freshly unemployed after years of radio broadcasting, still getting used to the changes that my son's schizophrenia had brought to our family, and in the process of looking for an agent and publisher for my book about it, Ben Behind His Voices.
And, also, why not? I had gotten advice from worse places, believe me.
I still have the cassette tape of that session, which was actually quite professional and friendly. Zena made no magical claims of future-predicting; she simply used her intuition, my astrological chart, and -yes, she made this clear - information I has provided to her to see what she "felt" was happening in my path. I barely remember her "predictions" - something about the fact that communication was my forte, and that I would affect lots of others with my words - but one moment, almost an afterthought near the end of our session, stays with me forever and gives me an extraordinary amount of unexpected comfort.
We had just talked about my "journey" and how I had spun a memoir out of Ben's diagnosis, like gold from straw, that might help others. Yada yada...so I said, "Sure, Ben's illness has made me more compassionate, sensitive, accepting, resilient. But why does he have to suffer for my journey? I'd give all that up in a second if he could just be well."
Zena looked at me and smiled gently. "But, dear," she said, "it's not just your journey. This is your son's journey too. Ben has his own path he is to follow in life."
Wow. That hit a bulls-eye in me. In that moment, I knew I had to let go of more than I already had. Whatever Ben's life journey, I could be an influence, a companion, a guide perhaps - but I was not in control of his life, and no parent can be.
I no longer wonder "why" Ben has schizophrenia. It is a waste of time end energy. I did not make this plan. As I say frequently to myself, especially in times of crisis after the shock and pain are processed, "it is what it is."
And then I add, "Now what?"
Because if there is something people who love Ben can do to help, of course we will do it. But the "reason" for this challenge (Ben's challenge first, out family's challenge second)? I have no clue. I'm just going to do my best to remain somewhere between acceptance and action, keeping both actions in sight, and try to keep trust and faith along for company.
It's Ben's journey, too.
Kaye, R. (2011, December 6). Words of Comfort: It's His Journey Too, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, February 28 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/mentalillnessinthefamily/2011/12/words-of-comfort-its-his-journey-too
Author: Randye Kaye
Love this! Thank you.