Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Whose problem?

I thought I learned about taking responsbility for my own actions from my mother. 

"Don't come whining to me about ---" she used to say, filling in the blank with the latest crisis in my teen life.  "You got yourself into this.  It's not my job to get you out of it." She wasn't being mean, just practical.  Encouraging independence, responsibility.

Another time, watching our neighbor care for several granddaughters of questionable legitimacy:  "Don't run off and get married, then bring your children home for me to raise.  They are your children, you raise them."  I was still in high school, not even contemplating marriage much less children. 

My favorite mental health counselor often admonished, "Assign the problem where it belongs."  Usually it was a reminder.  Sometimes she added,  "If you can fix it, do.  If you can't fix it, it is not your problem." 

So it is a little startling to hear my  mother, in an apparently rational state, say things suggesting that all her problems are caused by someone else.  Once upon a time, all her ills came from my father.   Now it is her doctors.   "I was fine until they changed my medicine."  That's partially true -- but the new med is also deflecting a whole range of more sinister conditions lying quietly, waiting to pounce.   The new med is also keeping her pain-free. 

Nor does her attitude address the things she can do to mitigate the negative impact of the new medication. Actions she chooses not to take. 

Change seldom comes easily.  Change is especially not easy when you are out of practice.  Or after 98+ years of living. 

Acceptance of difficult circumstances is even harder, especially when the ultimate difficulty involves your own mortality. 

What choice will make a difference in your life? 
Don't forget to pray....

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