Sunday, February 22, 2009

If not me, who will save ... me?

For most of my life, I've been told to slow down. That I had too many projects, committees and plans. Too many things, people and places in my life.
Every so often, I've quit everything and vowed to slow down. Take time to smell the proverbial flowers. And without fail, I'd find my way back into the fast lane with even more activities. 
It's just who I am. I've always wished everyone would just leave me alone about it. I want people to just appreciate me for who I am.
I see myself as a leader and community activist. I feel that God has given me this wide range of talents and that I'd be wasting God's gifts if I didn't do all that I can to do good -- to help, to serve...But, I love what I do. I love organizing events, running a meeting, teaching a class. It's not like I do these things just because I can. I do them because I enjoy every minute of it.
However, as predicted by so many people in my life, I'm burning out. Emotionally  -- well, that's been coming and going for years. But now, physically. 
I've been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue syndrome. I've blown out my adrenal glands -- from spending too much time, doing too many things under the extreme stress I have often lived.
I'll get into adrenal fatigue in a future post -- for it's been fascinating.
So, I quit my job to "take better care of myself," to "focus on health issues" -- but as my daughter pointed out this morning. It's opened up free time that I have already begun to fill in with other things. 
I've often said that while other people are addicted to alcohol or drugs, I am addicted to volunteering. There doesn't appear to be a good support group for this.  But I understand addiction and I understand the reality is that I'm trying to feel a void by volunteering for everything -- by trying to save the world one committee at a time.
Could it be that I feel like I don't exist unless my name is on a committee phone list somewhere. Does this mean that somewhere inside me, I think I don't matter unless I'm doing something outside this home and family? That I have no worth unless I'm accomplishing something???
What would happen if I really did check out -- even just for the summer? What would happen if I only created peace and quality in my own home? What would happen if I actually kept a garden alive or followed through on one of the 100s of projects I want to do with my children? What if I actually  unpacked the boxes we moved into the shed 4 years ago? Would would happen if I actually moved all of my stuff out of the old house? What would happen if I actually did stuff with my kids without saying, "hang on, I just have to finish this."?
Would I still exist? Would my friends still call? Would my friends still think I was fun to hang around? Would I be worthy of love, trust and respect?
I hear the voices in my head in their usual debate. My voice saying YES!! but she's drowned out by the others saying things like "Comitment!" "But who will take care of this stuff?" "I can't believe you bailed out on us!" 
I have no idea how to slow down. How to tune out. It just seems completely out of character. But if I'm truly going to return to center, it would seem I have to disconnect at some level. I keep having these visions of my self working out in the yard -- with a garden that actually survives and thrives in my care. I see myself talking long walks and going camping with my children. I have dreams of just going to a meeting to support my children -- and not volunteering for a darn thing.
It sounds like a fantasy -- a really it's possible. But in my world it would be like letting go of the life raft I've been clinging too for survival.  All this time I've keep clinging to it -- just letting the current  carry me down stream. As these words come flowing out it occurs to me that I no longer need the raft. That if I just stand up, the water is shallow. I'm in control -- 
Wow! I'm in control. 
Someone else will have to save the world. I'll save my world first.

No comments: