I learned to play Cribbage tonight.
We learned to play Cribbage.
Our newest guest arrived from Washington State a few days ago. He’s been a pleasant connection to the Pacific Northwest and a pleasant presence in our home. He’s shared meals with us, the two guys have engaged in heady theological discussions. And today they worked together to replace a toilet in the guest bathroom while I baked, cooked, and read.
Then, during a break for all of us, our guest taught us how to play Cribbage.
It’s a game of numbers, strategy, and the luck of the draw. And I loved it.
But moreover, I loved this day. I let them do what they wanted, while I did what I wanted just a room or two away. We came together for meals and Cribbage. It was a nice balance of being together and being separate.
It reminds me of the card I bought him for Valentine’s Day that he has displayed on his nightstand. It reads: “Our love is a balancing act…we are individuals, and we are together…”
Today’s meditation is about detachment.
…we may cross the line from taking care of ourselves to controlling others and outcomes.
There is no rule book. But we don’t have to make ourselves crazy; we don’t have to be so afraid. We don’t have to do recovery perfectly.
I haven’t been doing recovery perfectly.
Even today, when I saw a Facebook message come through on his phone that was a graphic of a heart, I immediately asked, “Who’s sending you a heart?”
He replied that it was a video, a chain letter from a guy at work. Still–reliving the moment in my mind–my heart seized. I felt panic.
I was more keenly aware of the sound of notifications indicating he had more messages, no matter how sporadic they may have been, or whether or not I knew who he was messaging. I felt the rabbit hole calling as my mind wandered to the worst possible scenario.
The truth is–I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole this week. And while I’ve been able to pull myself out each time, nonetheless, I’ve put myself in it each time, too. This time, the rabbit hole is the ability to see who he’s recently friended on Facebook. I found myself checking the list almost daily, viewing their profile pages, scanning for his name on the “likes” given to pictures.
Invariably, they are all young, single, blonde women. Most are local. The likes are almost always earned by photos with a lot of skin. Many times, I roll my eyes. Sometimes, I feel the temptation to compare myself to them. On occasion, I’ll recognize what the rabbit hole actually is: fear.
Like in Cribbage, I realize that my ritualistically checking his friends list is an effort to control our relationship again–and by control, I mean knowing who and what I’m afraid I may be up against.
…who and what I’m afraid I may be up against.
The truth is very likely that I’m not up against anyone or anything.
A guest we hosted last year, who was a godsend to me during my breakup, shared that if his wife got jealous over things he liked on Facebook, they’d be in constant turmoil. He was a man who looked. A lot. But he was also very dedicated to his wife. Everytime I’ve been in the rabbit hole this week, this comment comes to mind. It helps me crawl my way back out of the darkness.
And yet, even in this moment, I’m feeling the temptation to look at his friends list yet again.
But no matter the motivation–the fear, the worry, the anxiety–I cannot control him. Or his friends list. Or his likes. Or his connections.
No, I can only control myself.
I silently reminded myself of this today while working in the kitchen. I felt fear nagging at the back of my mind.
I can only control myself, I repeated in my head.
And then, I asked myself: If the worst were true, how would that affect me, right now, in this moment?
The answer is: It probably wouldn’t.
I liked what I was doing at the moment–taking dishes to the sink while banana bread was baking in the oven. I was wearing my apron, my favorite pair of slip-on shoes, and not an ounce of makeup. I was having a good day. I was doing things that brought me joy. I was doing things I wanted to do. I was happy.
I’d like to believe that even if the worst happened, that I would honor those things that make me happy. That I would continue doing them in ways that were healthy and safe.
Because–again, here’s my new favorite mantra: I am precious.
And it’s important that I treat myself that way.
Bad days will happen. Gray days will happen. You cannot forever avoid grief and pain. But you can control how you react to those days, and moments. You can control how you react to the betrayal or unkind actions by another.
You can still bake banana bread and cookies. You can still read a good book. You can still take hot baths. You can still learn new card games. You can still smile and laugh.
And by “you,” I mean me.