Tuesday, November 30, 2004

The Fixer

I have sat this evening with my shoulders scrunched up, neck stiff and jaw tight. Not even the tender silliness of Tom Hanks' roaming around JFK airport in his bathrobe could quite dispel the tenseness in me. It is an occupational hazard. Understand, I'm a fixer. I fix the world. I interpret dreams. I arbitrate family disputes. I offer recommendations about pastoral care problems that occur half a continent away. I mean, in response to Bobbie's current blog I emailed an American politician to encourage him in his stand on nuclear non-proliferation. AND I'M NOT EVEN AN AMERICAN. If there is a responsibility anywhere within my reach, I seize it, add my two cents worth. Try to fix it.
Not that I believe my efforts can alleviate all the worlds ills. I know I'm just a piece of the puzzle, a small cog in a very big wheel, a rung on the ladder, a link in the chain. But I try. I'm a fixer by profession; helping people tape together broken pasts and disconnected relationships. I'm a fixer by avocation; renewing old furniture, making curtains and cushions for tatty looking rooms. I'm a fixer by designation, having been assigned that role within my family. Let me tell you, it is a hard role to relinquish.
As a member of the Sandwich Generation, I find myself squeezed between responsibilities to young and old.. My elderly mother, now in a senior's residence, is ill and her state of mind and her bodily health are a daily concern. My children, both girls, treat me as a best friend, and I rejoice over that, but it doesn't mean I don't worry when they are ill, or their spouses are ill or stressed, or their children suffer in some way. I want to fix it all. I want to make it better. And the raw truth is that I can't. I can't alter the fact that my mother is 86 and frail. I can't change the fact that my children and grandchildren are living in a world which is more complex socially, morally and politically than the world in which I grew up. I can't fix it.
It is a relief to write this out. To say it to myself and to say it out loud, in a sense through this blog. It holds me accountable only for letting go. And that is distinctly what I am called to do.
Recently at a retreat at Linwood House I developed a mission statement:

"To express my gifts by conceiving and giving birth to Beauty."
There's nothing in that mission statement about fixing at all! I can't tell you the peace that gives me. My shoulders come down, my neck unkrinks. I stop gritting my teeth. I can pray now.
Creator God, who out of chaos, formed dry land.
Still now our ever straining hearts and trembling hands.
Dear Brother Christ, who saved the best wine to the last,
release us to rejoice in life, let go the past.
Oh Spirit, who with Presence comforts all our ills.
Speak wisdom where our chatter ends, our knowledge fails.
Amen
Connie

9 comments:

steph said...

What is it Connie that has us thinking we are fixers of all, when in fact it isn't our job at all? I can feel those tight shoulders, the stiffness in the neck and then this poignant prayer that hands the fixing back to the One who wants the job.
Your mission statement so powerfully concentrates on the releasing of beauty, of that birthing - the place of releasing not fixing.
It is such a treat to hear more of who you really are, as you unpackage that yourself and embrace it.

bobbie said...

amen!

when our chatter ends... i like that. chatter is really not about anything is it? like chip and dale the chipmunks - chatter - wisdom is much more needed isn't it? okay, i'll try to stop the chatter.

i love that you have verbalized your mission statement. i haven't had the courage yet to do that on my blog. i'm afraid that people will think 'no you're not' or 'come on...' i know i'll be ready to own it one day publically, but right now it just seems so personal. strange.

i too love that there isn't a 'fixer' in your mission either - birthing beauty - that is grand - i think that you are perfectly suited for that mission!

Scott B said...

Hi Connie,

maybe you could take a look at my blog post 'The Old Lady and the Wolf'
If you can interpret dreams and fix stuff I could maybe do with your angle on something

ciao
scott

Deb said...

Isn't it amazing the peace that comes when we simply choose to be who God created us to be? He created you to give conceive and give birth to Beauty. You do that beautifully I might add!

Oh, now that the tension is gone, watch The Terminal again. I loved that movie!

Scott B said...

thanks connie, you are truly a star

scott

Lisa said...

I'm struck by how power a tool our mission statements are. They help us filter, realign our priorities, and relax. In remembering back to the process of producing my mission statement, I am reminded that it was something that was already in me, that I already am and it just needed some help and shaping to come together in one sentence.

Scott B said...

I keep finding Canadian ladies that have a spiritual depth to them. Coincidently or not, Connie since it was a wolf story you helped me with, but previous to this story I related, I had noticed how at least three of the Canadian girls I refer too have something I could only call wolf-like in their eyes. Not in the normal sense of how we see our lupine friends but just a glimmer, a sheen, something. It conjured up this imagary in me. I found it attractive in a wild sense, it's depth and spirit visible, so rare these days to see any depth in people, we have to hide it I think.

I cant describe this very well, but I also see it in that rock artiste....whats her name....Avril Lavene.

Anyway, thanks for your comments, I keep refering back to what you wrote and find more and more in what you said. Thats very rare. not sure what I make of that.

Maybe this is too public a place to share comments but I dont really like the rules of silence and secrecy that something forces on us.

I like that you say you are imagined by someone else. We are, arent we, mainly the products of other people's thoughts.

It always surprises me though when deep people with a natural ability at insight and vision, take on Christianity. I dont mean to appear sacriligeous , each to their own but how can people who see so much, then genuinely believe in religion like that. Christianty is eerie, full of ghosts, turns people into haunting waifs. I dont much like it. I sure never liked it being forced upon me and find fault in so much of it both logically and spiritually. Or maybe just it's interpretation of convenience made by so many.

Maybe I have misinterpreted what I read, it was Lisa's comment that lead me to write this actually. No offense Lisa but it's the way the 'mission statement' thingy came across to me, you only wrote a small but I know, but I got this kneejerk reaction.

How can one believe in the definition of the Christian god, I guess is my question. I am born in UK, Church of England by baptism and birth and inheritance so they tell me, but all my questions and life experience has led me to see it cant be the truth. I left any semblance of doubt in that regard behind me years ago.

Like I said, I am not meaning to knock maybe the only thing available for people to rely on to give them the strength they need to face the forces of their lives. Clinging as we must to things that float past us lest we sink. But I ask this in a genuine incredulousness when people mention Christian things, and yet I dont even know why I feel the way I do.

Maybe because Christianty is so limiting in it's options of what really is out there looking at us, trying to communicate with us, surrounding us. I see deep, and none of what I see is mentioned in any biblical setting I have heard of.

On another note, I love the subtle differences I find between Canadians and Americans. All down to a line drawn in the dirt all those years ago. Fantastic.

I write a lot. didnt mean to invade your blog here, just wowed by what you wrote to be honest and you dont know me but that's some major cap tipping in respect of that.

Thanks for listening folks, whatever your beliefs, long lives of peace to you all.

I never find a satisfactory way to sign off. maybe thats what prayer is about.

I hope strength, courage and the truth come to you if you can seek them...and definitely in that order.

Scott.

Everyday Mommy said...

Connie:
Thank you for your lovely and lilting poetic prayer. It touched my sandwished spirit.
Googie

PapaVoisey said...

Connie: A great site. I just entered this blog, my first one I opened a few days ago. You can see it at www.xanga.com/envy65. You are poetic-that you get from the Keelers, the loving from the Williams. I like Annie Willard, Jeanne likes both your mystery writers, Elizabeth George, and Martha Grimes. Clive Staples Lewis never connected with me. Perhaps it is an IQ thing. I guess i should do therest in an email. My blog here is A Site to Behold Norm Voisey