A long time ago, I wanted to be rescued from my life.
I was living with depression, not doing well. I was lonely. I was feeling un-seen, un-wanted, un-needed. I was afraid of the future. My future. I had no idea what was going to happen to me.
I just wanted to be rescued.
So, I fell in love.
And then I fell in love again.
And then, I did it again….Noticing a pattern here?
It’s not that I didn’t truly love the people I fell in love with. I did. I also, however, really wanted to be rescued. I wanted them to love me so that I would be loved.
Being loved meant that I would be taken care of. I would never be lonely. Someone would be there whenever I needed them. When my car ran out of gas or the dishwater backed up. Or there was a spider in the bathroom. Or there was a noise outside at night.
The problem was, I didn’t really want someone “there” all of the time. I really liked having my own space, my own way of doing things, hanging photos on the wall, eating cereal for dinner, waking up in my own way.
Hence, the dilemma:
Be alone, and therefore not rescued.
Find someone who would love me, not live with me (or, at least not be in my space all the time). More than a roommate, less than a clingy romance. Liked kissing (and not much more than that). A social-event date who would be with me and yet wouldn’t hover over or suffocate me.
Bonnie Raitt has a song that says: “One part be my lover, one part go away.”
That. I wanted that. A part-time rescuer.
I spent years working on this issue, this problem, of mine. The “rescue mission” addiction. And I thought I had gotten past it. I really did. I felt stronger, more clear, happier, more solid. I thought, well, that’s one thing checked off the “Rachel needs to fix this crap” list.
And then….I was feeling really cranky. Edgy. Frustrated. I couldn’t understand what it was from. Maybe the pandemic. Maybe school. Over-extending myself as a minister, possibly. Well, it could have been any of those. Maybe it could have been all of those. As well as….
I discovered that I had recently cast someone in my life into the role of rescuer. Without noticing it (because that’s how the most dangerous part of my brain works), some idea of this person as a rescuer had snuck right into my psyche and set up camp.
Sitting on my bed yesterday, I started crying as a song I love started playing from my phone. And, whammo! I said, out loud, “You just assigned that person the rescue mission. How could this happen?!?”
The first feeling was complete disappointment. In my self. How could I have allowed that to happen? How could that thought have crept back into my brain without my knowing? Without my permission? And why? Why, why WHY has it returned? I don’t want it. I don’t like it. I don’t believe it.
Wait….Do I? Do I want someone to rescue me? Is that such a bad thing to want? Does it make me weak? Does it make me less-than?
Hold up, monkey mind! In order:
No, I don’t.
Yes, it is.
Yes, it does.
Yep. Sorry, Sister.
If I really wanted to share my life with someone, that would be one thing.
If I really felt like that was something I was capable of doing, that would be acceptable.
If I really saw my future as one I could share with someone — on equal footing — who accepted me with all of my quirks (and I, with theirs), then, well….It would happen.
It would be happening. And it isn’t.
Here’s the lifeline, though (did you honestly think I’d leave you hanging with that hopeless thought?!?). Well, before I tell you the lifeline, here’s how I got to it:
I woke up again. Today. In my home. With my dog. Listening to the wind blowing outside. Snuggled into my bed. Me. And my dog.
And I was happy. Because I remembered the lifeline:
In every moment, with every breath, as I allow each thought to come through, I can choose again. I can choose to rescue myself.
I can reconnect to the truth of who I am. I can swoop in, right on time, and be my own rescue mission. For my self.
No more sense of failure. No more feeling bad about slipping back into an old thought pattern. No more edgy crankiness. No more beating myself up. No regrets.
Rescued. I can rescue myself. As many times as I need, whenever I need.
That is a good thing to know.