Moving on

Celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a regular part of my spiritual life. Reviewing my thoughts, words and actions, looking at where I need to make changes and admitting my shortcomings to another human being helps me live more intentionally.

One transgression I don’t ever remember confessing is envy—because I tend to be quite content with my life.

Recently, though, I heard myself saying words I regretted the moment they out of my mouth. I knew I needed to apologize, but before I did, I wanted to understand what had prompted this comment.

I prayed for insight.

Pondering the situation, I realized I envied the woman I had spoken to; I was envious of a part of her life that reminded me of what I used to have but have lost.

Five years ago, I moved “home” after having lived away for almost forty years. That move changed my proximity to some friends and the things we used to do together. I hadn’t realized how much I missed that part of my old life until I heard this woman talking about a trip she had recently taken with her friends.

I was happy for her and the fun she had, but a week later—and not even thinking or talking about her trip—I said something totally irrelevant and rude. I was speaking out of the past, a past I have lost and apparently still mourn.vulnerability-grief-hopeUnderstanding doesn’t change or fix what is wrong, but it helps me to apologize sincerely and to figure out what adjustments I need to make to act differently in the future.

In this situation, my words led me to reflect on developing more friends in my new home—or perhaps initiating more with my family and the friends I do have.

When I moved home, I decided that I would not expect people to accommodate me—to make space for me in their lives—because I did not want to have unrealistic expectations. I knew that their lives had gone on without me while I chose to live away.

Developing realistic expectations can be tricky because expectations that are too high can lead to disappointment and expectations that are too low can lead to—well, I think in this situation, loneliness.

I realized that a fear of disappointment or rejection led me to develop extremely low expectations.

As I look back on the five years since my move, I can see that some of my attempts at initiating have been rejected and I have been disappointed on occasion. But more often, family and friends have embraced me and responded positively to my suggested activities.

Building a new life has been a challenge, and even though I am deeply grateful to be living near my family, my rude comment tells me that I still have a ways to go before I am totally content with my new life. Admitting that is the first step toward changing it. Letting go of what was also helps.vulnerability-grief-hope


6 thoughts on “Moving on

  1. annemarielom

    Those dark comments, when I make them, teach me where I still need healing and insight. Thank you for pricking my memory!

    1. Madeline Bialecki Post author

      I think the incident in this post was the beginning of a “pricking” to show me where I need healing and insight. It is still unfolding; God keeps giving me little signs pointing the way.

  2. roninjax

    I pray and trust that your life travels are not too bumpy. I think, for all of us, it is important to take the small steps along the way and pause to reflect all that is around us.

  3. dslyon

    Well you certainly pushed a few buttons here for me as well. But I too have made myself stop and reflect on what it is about certain “enviable” situations that would make me react rudely or be curt. My husband and I CHOSE over four years ago to become full-time caretakers to my now 95 yr-old father. I remind myself of the blessings we are almost daily experiencing with daddy…those that my siblings are missing as they travel extensively or just go grocery shopping without having to justify WHY. I could be envious, but God is grooming me for His promise that my days will be long for honoring my father (and deceased mother). Thank you again Madeline for your transparency. We can stand together in not letting Satan/envy steal our joy!

    1. Madeline Bialecki Post author

      Oh, Debbie Sue, your spirit is a testimonial to the goodness of God. We both know that the grass is not really greener anywhere else; we just need to see the blessings being given to us each day. Being a full-time caregiver is both a challenge and a blessing–and you will never have one moment of regret for the way you are caring for your dad. He is blessed to have you; God smiles on you for the sacrifices you are making.


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