Hanging By My Fingernails


Before I had the courage to let go of my whole way of living,

two inner images rose up in my mind as symbols of my controlling behaviour.

I removed all religious comments from this article, to post it on a secular site and I have decided to leave it this way. The churched reader will know all the biblical references and the unchurched and seeker will not be overwhelmed with Catholic lingo.

When my family was still young and I had only seven children from twelve-years old down to a newborn, I earnestly strove to raise the best children I could. Yet all my effort was actually hindering their development because my anxiety and control acted like a barrier, a prison around my them. I was in fact preventing my children’s inner, natural development into well-balanced, creative people.

I did not take subtle hints, so a powerful inner image rose up from my subconscious which symbolized what I was actually doing by refusing to let go of control.

First I saw an ocean and a tiny black dot in the water. Slowly the image grew larger till I was face to face with a huge octopus.
The scene switched and now 7 tentacles wrapped around each of my children with my husband in the eighth. All of them were grey, limp almost lifeless.

I suddenly realized that I was in fact the octopus; I was in fact squeezing the life out of my family.

In this inner vision, a sword appeared in a blaze of light and severed each tentacle one by one. The severed tentacle shrivelled and fell off each child. As soon as each one was set free, they began dancing and laughing in the sunshine. Soon all seven were joyfully playing.

The eigth tentacle was wrapped tightly around my husband. The kids stopped playing and kneeled on the ground, weeping, desperately pulling and tugging the tentacle but to no avail. Suddenly,in a flash of light, the sword of truth cut through the tentacle, my husband was released and came back to life.

Yet even after this appalling self revelation, I still could not let go of control.

It was like I stood on the hub of a wagon wheel with my large family balanced on the rim. I crouched on the hub, frantically turning this way and that, grabbing all the broken spokes,desperate to hold the crumbling structured together.

I realized that I had to let go of this futile sense of responsibility and control but I was afraid to stop, afraid that one moment of inattention would cause my entire family to tumble down into the abyss.

I was trapped.

Yet, I realized that once again, my tension, my control acted like a wall, shutting out all life. My sincere concern and earnest self-sacrifice actually magnified everyone’s brokenness by freezing everyone and everything.

images (15)

It took years but I finally surrendered control. The broken spokes were instantly repaired. The kids and my husband started smiling. I was free. We were free.

Sometimes we just need to “let go” of the things that we worry about (i.e. our children, loved-ones, or family members). When we are able to do that, we (and the people we care about) can then truly experience the freedom of living! I read a quote that said the worst sin against another human being besides hate and murder is trying to control and manipulate them because you are stealing their real identity, molding them into a false image.

I'm part of Post A Day 2014

6 thoughts on “Hanging By My Fingernails

  1. Melanie, I have seen a picture of you and you look nothing like an octopus. You look more like a kind, gentle, generous mother and wife who does her best for her family. There’s nothing wrong with that. We all, perhaps, sometimes, tend to give too much love which can stifle others. But, as you’ve discovered, by relying and trusting in God we can share our love of others together. He and us loving the same people. What better formula is there?

    God bless you and your afmily.

    Like

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