Crazy is a tough word.
In the purest definition, it refers to a mentally deranged person. Through common usage, it has also come to mean “possessed by enthusiasm and excitement, immoderately fond and infatuated, intensely involved and preoccupied, foolish or impractical”.
I have been all those things.
Not so very long ago, control was my unhealthy obsession. In the “intensely involved and preoccupied” sense, I was crazy about my control. I believed that if I could control things—myself, others and things, then I could shelter my family from the storm. I read every horrible story on the internet about every child who died or disappeared. I read the story until I found the place where someone had lost control, where if they had just made a different choice, none of it would have happened. Then I held on to that “lesson” in my head to make sure I never made that choice.
The stories where there was no moment when a choice was made, when there was nothing anyone could do, haunted me. Two of those stories had things in common: a mini-van, a big rig and an off-ramp. Accidents. But I traded in my crossover for a Tahoe. It has a third seat that I didn’t let my kids sit in. I needed the four feet of empty space between my babies and the big truck with no brakes slamming into the back of us. I started avoiding the off-ramps where traffic had a tendency to back up suddenly. And if there was a big truck behind me, I’d move over.
In hindsight, I realize this was the start of my postpartum anxiety journey that would come to a fractured head in 2012. My efforts to control everything around me were evidence that I was slowly sliding off my rocker. In the midst of my madness, it’s fair to say that I was addicted to control. I was also only working in my head. It was an overly practical, logical place to be. My heart was crying out for rest from all the worry, horror and anxiety I was dumping into it, but my brain was driven to understand, to head trouble off before it came knocking on my door.
Trouble came knocking anyway. It always does. Life and death will out.
In recovery from my crazy, I spent a lot of time reading Richard Rohr, who I have talked about before. Two of his books met me where I was, like the Good Samaritan: Everything Belongs and Falling Up. They were a challenge to get my heart and faith in the game. I had left them behind. I wasn’t trusting God at all. I wasn’t listening. I wasn’t praying. I wasn’t reaching out a hand. I wasn’t letting myself be loved. I had crowded God out of my life and was trying to do His job.
And I was letting fear—a huge, angry, anxious, evil fear—eat my peace.
I needed to unlearn the things that hormones and fearful motherhood taught me. I have unclenched my fists, to let go of what I was holding so tightly.
It’s no good to me strangled.
I turned my hands up and out and am learning to cradle. I’m giving my fear to God, as fast as it comes to me. I am listening. I am praying. I am believing.
I had to give up my need to control, which drove me out of control, to get some self-control.
I would have never believed it five years ago, but letting go has brought me more peace than trying to control it all. It has decluttered my life, simplified it, clarified it.
In a wonderful turn of events, I have less to worry about now than I did when I was trying to control everything so I would have less to worry about.
Crazy, but true.