Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Pendulum of Self Importance

Ego seems to have a different meaning psychoanalytically than it does colloquially. Colloquially, we usually mean self importance when we talk about ego, while psychoanalytically, it seems to be about balancing self and the outside world. Since I don't know much about psychological things, I am going to be working with the colloquially meaning in this post.

So...self importance.... It's easy to think we aren't guilty of this if we think we don't have grandiose notions of our talents or accomplishments. But what if we think we are a grand failure if we are not? What is we think that "if only we would have done something...." , everything would have been okay?

Am I the only one who tends to feel guilty for not being omnipotent? When Mom died, I felt guilt that I didn't call the doctor myself, since I knew she was more tired than usual. I felt guilt that I didn't spend the night with her, when I had an inkling something was wrong. But my inkling sent me in the direction of believing they would discover an infection, and that she'd be sent to the hospital soon. I prepared by going home, trying to sleep, and being unable to do so. I turned that into believing "if only I...."

What a blessing that my mother's doctor has no such delusions of his importance. My Mom's doctor is my doctor. I few months ago, I tearfully told him why her passing was my fault: I misjudged, and didn't call to tell him she was tired. He gently asked me what I thought he'd have been able to do for her. I said I didn't know, but she came close several times before, and he always managed to do something for her. He shook his head, and said that her body was worn out, and it was her time. He said that machines might have prolonged her life a bit, but only to suffer. He doubted that he could have done anything for her at that point. I still lamented that I didn't know.... You know, overly optimistic and cheerful with mom, that sort of thing. He reminded me that if he couldn't know, I couldn't know, and that I couldn't have done anything differently had I have known....

I couldn't have known. I had no control over this, just as it is Christ, not I, who has control over what happens next.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 (New International Version)

13Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 14We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

I suppose that I am trying to say that it is the enemy who uses our ego, our own sense of self importance against us. If it isn't possible to persuade us we are in control and the greatest thing since southern fried chicken (yum, that is SO good...), the enemy will try to convince us we were in control and let it slip through our fingers.... At least that is how he works on me. Praise God, that even when I thought I let Mom "slip through my fingers", I knew in my heart she was caught by the hand of the Father.


Wendy said...

Nothing slips through God's fingers, and that's a comforting thought.

Hey Helen, did you know that you are loved? :o)

jasonS said...

We all have the propensity to feel that guilt in certain situations- especially of this magnitude. The best we can do is process it when it comes and like you said, remind ourselves that we aren't omnipotent, we couldn't have known, but God is still in control and still faithful.

Thanks and much love, Helen. :)

katdish said...

"Praise God, that even when I thought I let Mom "slip through my fingers", I knew in my heart she was caught by the hand of the Father."

Wow, Helen. That's beautiful. And ditto what Wendy & Jason said.

Joy said...

I had these same types of thoughts when my daughter died. All the things I could have done differently that might have saved her. Thank you for this post. It's good to be reminded again that it's foolish to think that I could have done anything to change the outcome. God chose to take her that morning. He chose to take your mom that moment too.


Duane Scott said...

I was going to quote the exact same sentence that Katdish did. Very well said.

HisFireFly said...

Graet post Helen!

The Lord is teaching me that I decrease, and refuse to accept His glory, I also don't have to accept the blame for everything either.

There is therefore now no condemnation...

She's in His hand and so are you..

Glynn said...

The ego thing plays right into the control thing. We think we're fully capable of controlling everything in our lives, and the more we try, the worse it gets. Good post, Helen.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful, Helen. And what Wendy said... you are totally loved!