this weekend was filled with deep sighs, lots of tears and feeling the emotions that i had been avoiding for weeks. there is a lot happening on my emotional landscape. not so much that others would notice, but i have finally figured out that i have been trying to keep the balance in our home while a lot of healing and recovery is happening, and it's not my job to do. i'm exhausted.
my overly responsible, first born status had kicked into overdrive and while the things that are happening are positive and will bring a lot of healing, they do throw off the equilibrium in our relationships and i have been overcompensating. so via la imbalance. helter skelter it shall be. i know we will find our way through this all, and it might look like chaos for a while, but it is our chaos and we will learn from it.
i have been thinking through m. scott peck's four stages of community lately. our church here is expert in this and it's teaching us so much.
In his book The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace', Scott Peck says that community has three essential ingredients:
Based on his experience with community building workshops, Scott Peck says that community building typically goes through four stages:
- Pseudocommunity: This is a stage where the members pretend to have a bon homie with one another, and cover up their differences, by acting as if the differences do not exist. Pseudocommunity can never directly lead to community, and it is the job of the person guiding the community building process to shorten this period as much as possible.
- Chaos: When pseudocommunity fails to work, the members start falling upon each other, giving vent to their mutual disagreements and differences. This is a period of chaos. It is a time when the people in the community realize that differences cannot simply be ignored. Chaos looks counterproductive but it is the first genuine step towards community building.
- Emptiness: After chaos comes emptiness. At this stage, the people learn to empty themselves of those ego related factors that are preventing their entry into community. Emptiness is a tough step because it involves the death of a part of the individual. But, Scott Peck argues, this death paves the way for the birth of a new creature, the Community.
- True community: Having worked through emptiness, the people in community are in complete empathy with one another. There is a great level of tacit understanding. People are able to relate to each other's feelings. Discussions, even when heated, never get sour, and motives are not questioned.
i have been pondering this in relationship to family, specifically ours. chaos is terrifying for me. to think that there must be this stage of development in my own children's lives means that i don't control everything. that they get to do things in their own ways and learn from their own mistakes. the mama bear in me wants to keep them in the cave, safe and sound forever. but in my heart i know that is not true. i long for them to be whole, healthy independent individuals who aren't my little minions or robots.
i finally admitted yesterday that i was grieving this last stage of their childhoods. i have so enjoyed it. i know there will be much to enjoy in the future, but these past few years have been so wonderful. my kids are truly a joy. it has been the 'paycheck' for staying at home with them. i will miss it greatly. they are becoming more independent, so capable and their needs have changed from "mom can you" to "mom can i"...
sitting with the grief of this has been difficult. finally admitting it has helped though. i think this might be where those "surprise" babies come from. the panic of feeling not needed, the panic of "what now?", the panic of "what's next?". no, i'm not contemplating adoption or getting pregnant again, but i do need to say I AM A GOOD MOTHER, it was something that i excelled at. and it feels so 'over' - i know they're only going to be 9 & 11 in the next couple of months, but this stage was glorious. i really felt like i was doing one of the things i was made for.
i know that there are other ways to use these skills, giftings and desires - and that i am not done mothering my own two. i just know that by not acknowledging the end of this stage and grieving it properly i would find it cropping into other areas of my life. so here i sit. wondering where my little kids have gone. looking at the beautiful young tweens they are becoming and rejoicing in what lies ahead, but still missing those stages we have been through together.
so, that is where you'll find me today. not clawing at the floor anymore, but sitting with my hands outstretched, one back letting go, one forward reaching to next - missing and yearning, and most of all trying to be present to what that means today. just for today.