Today I had an expectation for how a really vulnerable, sensitive situation was going to play out. I had made plans to confront someone who had hurt me. I wanted to know why. I wanted to know what she thought about her actions. But after talking to a woman I trust and praying on it, I knew that forcing the situation would only have a painful outcome for me. Today I woke up fully expecting to have another great morning. I checked my phone and there was a text from her. This person who I hadn’t bothered to text back about cancelling our meeting since I didn’t owe her anything. She texted me she wouldn’t be coming because she didn’t think it was a good idea. I FREAKED.
I texted my sponsor with so much anger. I wanted to be right in my anger. Wasn’t anger what I had earned by this point? My sponsor, the level-headed, lovely human she is replied, “What expectations did you have? What did you expect. That’s where we get hurt. We don’t get to have those.” Oh. Right. I bawled my eyes out and then I thought about just going to drink because why the hell not. And I thought about how nobody truly understood the pain I was in. And then something almost miraculous occurred. I thought about the woman who had cancelled the plans. The one who had hurt me in an irreparable way. The woman who wouldn’t ever be able to pacify my expectations in a satisfying way because what was done was done.
There’s no meeting, no amount of time, no confrontation, that would change the pain in my past. I had hurt myself more by seeking a closure I thought I was owed when really the only thing I owe myself is to life a sober life according to God’s will. To show up. To be gracious and kind. I don’t owe myself more pain by picking at old scabs. I don’t owe myself unruly expectations because I think that’s how they should work out. The only expectation, I’m learning, when it comes to expectations is dissatisfaction. Because if I go through life with a pocket full of expectations, of ways I think people should act, or reasons they should call me back or work with me or LOVE me, I get a whole lot of hurt in response. That’s it. What this woman did to me was wrong. But she doesn’t owe me anything. And no amount of want or need on my end will make that statement less true.
Instead of jumping to play the victim this morning I sat down and wrote. I reached out to women who I trust. I’m taking care of myself by getting coffee and seeing my very best friend and learning to live one breath at a time if I need to. The scariest part about being sober is starting to see your role in absolutely everything and turning the messy situations into learning experiences. What did I expect? What do I expect next time? The only expectation I have is today. Maybe it’s an angry day, maybe it’s a sad one. Maybe I’m raw so I’ll take everything too personally. Maybe I’ve re-traumatized myself a little bit. Maybe today is a pajamas-till-almost-noon-no-shower-day. Maybe I’m okay even when I’m not.
Yesterday a friend shared a Rumi poem with me that seems so accurate right now my heart jumped in rereading it. Copied below for your pleasure.
This being human is a guest
house. Every morning
a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and attend them all:
Even if they’re a crowd of horrors,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture, still,
treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.