The cold war between me and Bitch-Mom is going nuclear on Monday, and I am the opposite of excited.
I often feel like I’m stuck in lose-lose situations, that there isn’t a right choice that I can make. In recovery they talk about “the next right thing” which isn’t a concept that comes naturally to me. I get caught up in the possibilities of how something will play out, in trying to take into account every single consequence that may or may not result from anything I do. This in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I don’t see a world where people live in personal bubbles with no impact on one another. I accept cause and effect as a fact and view reality accordingly. When it turns from pragmatism into crazy-making is when I pretend that I can actually KNOW how something is going to turn out, when I start to believe that my prediction of future events is a predestined course that will unfold just as I have seen in my mind.
Yes, my life gets shitty when I pretend that I am God. And not even the Catholic understanding of God. Apparently when I am God in my mind I am God as John Calvin understood God. No wonder things turn to shit.
But the very simple truth of my life is that I don’t know at all how things are going to turn out. I once knew without a shadow of a doubt that I had met the man I was going to marry. He married someone else. I once planned my whole future on the sure knowledge that I was going to become a literature professor at a mid-sized East coast university. I dropped out of grad school. I once believed that I could stop drinking anytime I wanted, that I was in control and I didn’t have a problem. I couldn’t and I did. In all the futures I envisioned for myself, that I had bone-deep certainty in, not a single one involved becoming a friend of Bill.
I think doing the next right thing is about leaving space in my life for God to do what he thinks is best. That if I’m less concerned about filling my imaginary future with my self-serving plans, then I am more open to what God wills for me. The next right thing today is to make some coffee, read a book, and get some sleep for tomorrow. After that the next right thing is to catch up on my grading. The next right thing after that is to prepare as best I can to state me case to Bitch-Mom without being accusatory or defensive. Past these three, I will just have to see how things stand on Sunday. As familiar as I might find it to crawl into a dark place in my mind concocting all the unjust yelling Bitch-Mom is going to do at on Monday, I have no proof that that is what is going to happen. It is very well what may happen, but since I cannot look into the future with a perspective outside of time, for all I’m capable of knowing she might cancel our meeting, or she might bring an issue to my attention that I haven’t given enough thought to, or she might yell and then listen to me.
I don’t know. But I’m slowly knowing that I don’t know.
Socrates would be proud.
(1 Year 2 Months and 9 Days Sober)