“What’s the worst that can happen?” Mom likes to muse. “If you can handle that, you can handle anything.”
When a marriage of seventeen years fell apart, Mom said: “There is always Welfare.”
I didn’t want to accept the ‘worst’ for my life, and so I fought to stay afloat, and rather than succumb to Mom’s bottom, I even offered to give up the children to their father (who promised to meet all their needs while they were under his roof) until I could get on my feet.
It never happened, and I continued to scrape by, but in hindsight, I see that it has been a pattern in my life: always trying to stay one step ahead of disaster.
When my husband was diagnosed with stage III cancer my mind automatically went to the worst case scenario, and we adjusted our living situation by downsizing.
To me, this is pragmatic: living below one’s means is security, right?
Lately, I’ve been wondering. New Age philosophy suggests that abundance is a state of mind, and that just by affirming so, all our needs will be met.
Except this has not been my life experience.
“You live as if always waiting for the other shoe to drop,” my former husband once complained. “As if you’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t.”
Of course I denied it, and yet, something in the back of my mind is niggling at me. Why do you always anticipate the worst? it’s asking. Why do you never allow for thoughts of abundance?
What would abundance even look like? Having all my needs met, not afraid for the future, feeling at peace with self and life.
Have I ever felt the joy of abundance? Yes, ironically, when I was at my bottom. It manifested itself in the glowing support of friends, quality time spent with my children, and a burgeoning faith. Money was scarce, but I felt rich in so many other ways.
Even now, on my good days, I feel how fortunate I am to have a caring husband, and family and friends that are close to me. But I am not without fear, and fear is that bedevilled spirit that dregs up the past and slathers me with slime, reducing me to unworthiness.
There I said it – breaking every rule of affirmations – I am not worthy of abundance.
Heartbreak, loss, trauma – all acceptable in my life’s repertoire – but, abundance?
Why the hell not? Why would it be so bad for me to feel fully alive, special, appreciated, deserving?
Because that is not who we are! cry all my inner selves, especially the littles. We’re supposed to suffer, be strong, and always help others. Wanting for ourselves is selfish, and bad. Don’t even think that way!
Wait a minute, I am an adult now, and this kind of thinking is just not right. I know how we feel; I know what we’ve been told, and; I also know what we’ve experienced, but Breaking News!, we are still alive, and I’m pretty sure God in Heaven (like any good parent) wants the same for all His/Her children – abundance. I for one, am tired of pretending I don’t want it in my life, so what do you say we all come out from our hiding places, step into the light and try opening our hands, arms, hearts to let God know that we are grateful and ready to receive.
A little voice speaks up: We already have a lot of abundance in our lives.
What do you mean, we already have abundance?
Well, it’s a beautiful day, for one, and our granddaughter is here with us, and Ric is puttering away in the yard, and there is adventure in our future, and isn’t that everything you’ve been asking for?
Well, yes, but what about the fear?
Well….fear is just an excuse, it’s not really real. You can listen to it or not, but I kind of think it just gets in the way….
…and stops me from seeing the abundance right in front of my face.
Exactly. How can God offer you more abundance if you don’t accept what you already have?
You are sounding New Age.
I’m not trying to….I’m trying to make sense. Besides, when you aren’t happy about your life, it makes us feel like we’re not good enough either – like you don’t appreciate us.
But you are part of me…..
Ohhhh! Oh God! I see now. It’s not that I don’t have abundance in my life, it’s that I’ve been acting like a petulant child not appreciating it in my life, always devaluing what I have. So, I guess what you’re saying is….
Abundance really is just a state of mind, after all.
Writer, avid reader, former educator, and proud grandmother, currently experiencing life through the lens of ME/CFS. Words are, and always have been, a lifeline. Some of the best adventures, I'm discovering, take place in the imagination.