Mid-life Crisis

Stingray

I wasn’t a fan of the Crocodile Hunter, mostly because I
have a morbid fear of shiny and slippery creatures. I don’t hate them, but I
don’t like to see people near them. But Steve Irwin’s death struck me, and I
found myself speaking of an old wound in this way:

“It feels like a barb in my chest, and I want to pull it
out, but I don’t want to die trying.”

Sometimes exploring an old wound does feel life-threatening.

For many years I’ve felt an odd pain just below the left
clavicle. It is authentically tender, but it’s not an injury or an ailment of a
physical nature. It seems to be the place I manifest old emotional pain.

Once I had a dream. I was the daughter of a senator, but the
setting was Roman, an “I, Claudius” sort of environment of sheer curtains and
opulent furnishings. Alone in my room, I am suddenly set upon by a group of
men, including my father, who tells me I am a disappointment and stabs me with
a short knife, just in that spot.

Ouch.

I once did some work with a person who used sound therapy.
(Don’t ask. I’ve tried everything once.) She had a vision of me as a woman in a
canoe, shot in that spot by an arrow.

Something sharp does stick there. It’s the place I feel the
hurt when I am misunderstood or undervalued or judged (to my mind) unfairly. It
particularly hurts when I am attacked simply because I have asked for the truth
or tried to tell it myself.

I could make a list of the people in my life that inflicted
those wounds, and I’ve tangled with some of them, trying to get them to face
reality. But sometimes they simply cannot. They are not capable of going there.
I ought to be able to see it, yet I hang on for dear life, thinking, “Oh, if
only he/she could see I’m right about this, our relationship could be closer,
deeper, more authentic!” They are the “friends” or relatives who are quick with
the critique, but not so eager to lend any actual support. They are the people
who don’t appreciate the kind of gifts that led one of my CPE friends to call
me a “spiritual detective.” I see myself as swimming along like the Crocodile
Hunter, searching for what is interesting and real. They see me as a threat and
react defensively.

My husband asked about one such relationship, “Why wasn’t
the first time she hurt you the last?” It’s a good question. I want to say it’s
because I believe in working things through, but this week I’ve realized it’s
the inner relationship in which this dynamic refuses to be broken.  I can come up with strategies to let go of
people who don’t understand or appreciate me, but how do I do it with part of
myself? I need to find a way, because it is my own sting that can be most
deadly.

15 thoughts on “Stingray”

  1. Oh, I hate to think of you hurting. Isn’t it strange that our bodies know more than we do sometimes?
    You’re always able to figure it out, though. “Spiritual Detective” is a good description of your essence. You always look for the story behind the person you’re with, the one that tells you how they became who they are — and you very often get it right. It’s part of what makes you a wonderful writer, preacher, and friend.

  2. Oh, Songbird. I’ve had occasion to ask myself Pure Luck’s question this week, but couldn’t come up with any clear-headed answer.
    Thank you. It is my own sting that is most deadly. Brilliant.

  3. Hi there – this is so lovely and so so so true. (plus I LOL on “I’ve tried everything once” – me too sister!) I have a big scar from a surgery I had as a child, and I always carry my “ouchies” in that scar. For me, I know that even though I want to heal it (physically and emotionally), on another level, I dont want to at all because that scar is part of me, and even though I think life will be better if I do the work to heal it, it’s scary to imagine not having it. Anyway – I sometimes I do this prayer where I pickture my “stuff” being like gooey muck and I just pick up big handfuls and hand it to Jesus, who turns it to light. It works for awhile, but I always go back to poking myself, so no long term solutions….

  4. This is a very powerful post. I hope that by writing and sharing it new possibilities become available to you….

  5. I know just the space of which you speak…Reading your post was like light pouring in. I thought, “Hmmm–instead of assuming I’m having a heart attack every time I feel that pain, maybe I ought to be looking to diagnose the heartache…” Thanks, Songbird, for your provocative-as-always post.

  6. I can’t figure that out either… how to let someone go without fighting for the relationship… it seems like spiritual warfare sometimes… I can think all these great plans in my head for what I’m going to do and then I fall flat, and ache with compassion… and end up being a martyr 🙁 Thanks for this 🙂 E

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