Letting Go of the Future
Sometimes I amaze myself. I think I'm making progress, but then suddenly, something happens and I'm picking myself up off the recovery floor again.
This past week it happened when I had a wreck in my car. Actually, to call it a wreck is an overstatement, but I rear-ended another car and did $1000 damage to mine. Not even a scratch on the other car.
Naturally, the police determined it was my fault, as it is 99.99% of the time in the case of rear-end collision.
But I didn't believe it was my fault. I was pulling out into a lane, making a right-hand turn, and the car in front of me stopped suddenly. I was accelerating and so accelerated right into the back-end of a big Ford Taurus. Then, the driver hopped out and started yelling, "You rammed my car! I can't believe you just rammed my car!"
Rammed her car???
I hopped out of my car. "Get outta here," I yelled back. "It was an accident."
To make matter worse, the police talked to the other driver first and then me. Not good. The officer's opening statement to me was: "Why did you get out and start yelling at the other driver?"
"That's not how it happened," I protested. "The other driver stopped right in front of me, while I was pulling out onto the street."
"They said you rammed them," said the officer. "Then you got out and started yelling."
Needless to say, I felt there was no justice in the matter. I paid my $83 dollar fine and took 4 points on my driving record. It just seems that in some situations, the truth is not going to be heard.
Of course, some would argue truth is relative to one's point of view. I tend to agree with that more and more. The officer said, "We've seen hundreds of these cases and they're pretty much all alike, the driver in back isn't paying attention."
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"Look at my driving record," I begged. "I've not had an accident in 20 years. I'm a safe driver on my license and with my insurance company. I've not even had a speeding ticket in over 5 years. My kids were in the car with me. Do you think I'd carelessly endanger their lives?"
Words cast upon deaf ears.
It's happened to me before. I tried so hard to be heard, to be understood. After my divorce, I promised myself that in the future, I would do everything it took to work out differences in understanding. I promised myself that in the future, I would be a better listener. In the future, I'd keep working on communication until the situation was resolved.
I was playing right into the biggest co-dependent traps of all—people pleasing, living in the future rather than the present, believing that truth is truth no matter the point of view, believing that good communication would give me more control over a situation.
Life just isn't as simple as my co-dependent self wants it to be. People are unpredictable. Some situations are beyond my control no matter how hard I wish or work to make it different.
For a recovering co-dependent, there can be no such thing as "tomorrow." In the end, tomorrow doesn't make a lot of difference. The only thing that makes a difference is the attitude I take toward today, right here, right now. This moment is the only moment I have any power to change and all I can really change is my attitude in the moment.
Recovery honestly is living one day at a time. That's why we have the slogan—to remind us that today is all we have to work through. Tomorrow doesn't count. Let go of the future, because life is today.
When the crashes, spills, tumbles, hurts, disappointments, misunderstandings, lost opportunities, changes, shocks, and storms start rolling in, I smile and wait. It's only for today that I must endure and be strong. It's only for today that my answers will come. I can relax into the joy that tribulation brings knowing that I can survive anything for 24 hours. Grace will take care of tomorrow.
Thank You, God for reminding me that difficulties are part of living. Thank You for giving me just enough strength and serenity for today. I turn tomorrow over to You. Amen.
next: Doing Fine
Last Updated: 08 August 2014
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD