There is a story about a town that became flooded with a spring thaw. A man, whose house was almost entirely under water, was sitting on the roof. As the river rose, the man would continue to pray for a miracle that would save him.
One day a rescue boat approached. A fireman, who was steering the boat, told the man to jump into the water and he would pick him up. The man turned him down saying, “I know that God will save me.”
The next day a helicopter flew over the house and lowered a ladder. The man shook his head, pushed the ladder away, and said, “No, I have faith that God will save me.”
Eventually the man and his house were swept away and he drowned. When he met St. Peter, the man said, “I don’t understand. All along I had faith that God would save me. Why did God let me die?”
St. Peter shook his head and replied, “First God sent a boat to save you. Then God sent a helicopter. You turned both of them down. What else could God do?”
I know this man that has given up. He believes there is no hope. He will no longer listen to anyone. He shirks off all advice saying that no one understands his situation. When someone tries to help, he just turns away and cuts off all communication. This death spiral has been going on for a couple of years now. He picks himself up occasionally and tries to change his life. But, if something does not fit his concept of how things should be, he immediately rejects it and starts spiraling downward again.
Almost everything he has done over the last year or so has been self-destructive. It is difficult to watch his situation worsen. It is even frustrating to try to help and constantly have your ideas or offers to help turned down.
At the same time, I have not been able to just walk away. I know that if he would just allow others into his life, it might be just what he needs to turn the corner. That has been my hope all along.
I have written about ‘acceptance’ many times. Accepting a situation does not mean giving up. Acceptance means that you have a willingness to recognize and understand your current situation so that you can move on … begin to lead a new life by doing things differently.
Like most everything in life, there is a cycle that needs to be navigated in order to move on. One such cycle is shown below.
As you can tell, I am frustrated. I just do not know what else I can do. It is tough to just let go and watch the person drown. It is just as tough to continue to offer help and have the person lash out in anger. Perhaps it is time for me to review the ‘cycle’ above
Step 5. It is true and there is nothing I can do.
Step 6. I might as well accept that things are not going to change and a miracle is not going to happen. I need to get rid of this feeling of ‘guilt’ (not being able to help) I am experiencing and get on with my life.
Step 7. Well, it could always be worse. I just have to live with the knowledge that ‘I offered to help’ many times and was always turned down. This could be a blessing in disguise because it will finally allow me to move on.
I hope so anyway!