Sunday 2-18-2024 – I Want To, or I Should?

Happy Sunday!

At my last study group, we all shared what is going on in our lives, and two people had stories of being in service to others in heroic ways. These stories had me saying to myself that I too have to do something of service. We have a volunteering component to our school requirements, so this is on my mind. But, more that, this is just months of indecision while telling myself that I should do something.

I have a couple of ideas of where to offer to volunteer this month (my ideas keep changing monthly). I am procrastinating and with each day that passes I feel more anxious, to the point that the feelings are starting to tell my psyche that it is fear.

This morning, while lying in bed saying my prayer, I was aware of these feeling of stress. I offered that I go easy on myself to lessen the stress.

My thoughts shifted to the homework paper that I wrote yesterday. It was a reflection on the Sixth Commandment being more than ‘Thou shall not kill’ to also include not crushing a person’s spirit. In the textbook chapter on this subject, it warned of the ways we speak to our children that can hurt their soul aspirations. I saw myself in this dysfunctional parenting behavior. While having these thoughts, I saw an image of myself speaking to my kids. It seemed like nearly every line I said began with “You should …”

Regret washed over me. I had laid the burden of ‘should’ on my own kids. This pain was replaced very quickly with a blessing.

The next thought that came was ‘what do I want?’ The anxiety left as a new awareness came. I realized that all along I could have acted in my life based on what I wanted instead of what I thought I should be doing.

As a retired person, I have looked back to see how I did all the major experiences of my life because ‘I should’. It is like there is a mechanism to adult life that you need to keep up with … a conveyor belt of school, job, relationship, marriage, kids, career advancement, and then retirement. The conveyor belt goes very fast and suddenly you are dropped off into a space of retirement where there are no more ‘shoulds’ except for death lying ahead.

Retirement. It is a vast, open vista of unknown land. In this moment I see it as beautiful rolling green hills because I suddenly realize that it is my choice. I get to choose to do what I want. It seems like for the last three years that I have had blinders on, peering through dark tunnels to find the way which has the big sign above saying, “Tricia, this is what you should be doing.”

What do I want? I do not know, but I feel more expansive in my ability to ask myself the question.  

And, after seeing myself in a vision, telling my kids what they ‘should do’, I feel another block has been released. For ministers, I’m learning it is best to ask questions of others. I was uncomfortable with this but can understand now it is the best way to go. I feel my resistance was the old me showing itself in its need to figure things out ahead of time to then tell others what they should do.

What do I want? What do you want?  

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