Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Fixer

A friend of mine told me once “you can’t fix everything.”  These words still ring in my ear like I am just hearing them today instead of 7 years ago.  Maybe it is just me repeating it over and over, like Rainman.  I didn’t sleep well last night thanks to the shock of how much it cost for my child to play AAU basketball.  My mind was trying to decide where the money would come from in the midst of other things that needed those funds, like our vehicles that seem to be forever running on empty thanks to the fact that gas prices are going up as quickly as the numbers on my scale.  So I found myself headed to the kitchen at 4 a.m. to work on the dishwasher that seems to be dying a slow death.  It was a desperate moment.  I needed to fix something.

I always thought being a fixer meant I just wanted to help… that I was just a good problem solver.  If I saw a problem between two people as maybe a misunderstanding or just lack of good communication, I couldn’t help but want to offer up ways to make it better.  I remember talking to a friend about his marriage one time and for every negative I would come back with “well, at least she does this or that”.  Trying to get him to look at the positive.  In retrospect, he was right, she was/is a crazy bitch.  However, I just wanted him to be happy.  There was a time I even sacrificed that friendship in the hope that would fix it… it didn’t.  I know now there was nothing I could do to fix it, because although it wasn’t my problem to fix, I was believed to be the problem, but when the problem is within a person, they are the only ones who can fix it and the only person who can help them fix it is God. 

I came across an article:  http://www.livestrong.com/article/14696-overcoming-the-need-to-fix/  and was surprised to realize how much my need to fix seemed to be a need to control.  I have always seen it as a desire for peace and happiness for others.  Not every point in the article stepped on my toes, but a few did.  Most importantly, the realizations were things that I had already come to see.  They were lessons I had been learning since the day my friend told me “you can’t fix everything.”

As I have gone full blast into my 40’s I have become proud to look back and not see the mistakes I made, but what I learned… the difference in me.  I recently lost all my photos (over 16,000) I had saved on my laptop.  When I told my husband the next morning, he could not believe that I had not had a come-apart and woke the whole house up with my distress over it.  He just stopped and looked at me like who the heck are you, when I said “There’s nothing I can do about it but try to fix it.  Getting upset isn’t going to change it.” I’m calm.  My feathers don’t ruffle quite like they use to.  I think before I act or speak… most of the time.  Sometimes I don’t even recognize myself!  I still offer advice and “fixes” to my children on their relationships and decisions.  I can’t help but give it to others too, when they ask and sometimes when they don’t.   But now I know, I can’t fix it.  All I can do is tell the lessons I learned and let it fix itself, because by now I know, in time, it always does.