Saturday, September 24, 2011

The role of agency...

Agency is a frustrating and ill-conceived eternal principle. How I would like compulsion to be the over-arching and governing principle of this life. I think Satan really did have it right in the Pre-Existence in that pre-mortal war in heaven. Except for who-gets-the-glory angle, the concept of "making" us choose the right and thus we return to the father, doesn't seem all that bad from this vantage point.

I started attending a group class to help me understand my role better. The first of 12 steps of helping loved ones to overcome addition is to "let go" and admit that one has no control over another person's life and choices. This is the hardest step of all for me. If this is just step no. 1, how will I ever be able to get to step 12?

I would much rather be in control. I would much rather use compulsory means whereby to "make others choose the right". For you see, I know better. I have the light and know what is right for others, particularly my loved ones, and thus, isn't doing right more important than desiring to be right? And I can see the decisions others are making for themselves are "wrong" and therefore I just help them to see the errors of their ways, no?

If not, what should I be doing? Particularly as a parent? And don' tell me all I can do is show "unconditional love". Of course I know this - but is that all that I am left to do? Ultimately, when all else is stripped away, are we really left but one alternative - to love?

I have asked that of them, my family, to accept me, and to offer me unconditional love as they've one-by-one come to terms with my homosexuality. And for the most part, such offering has been made.

So, now it is my turn... to love unconditionally, even those, and especially those who are now choosing different paths from my own.

Even with such turn of events, it ain't easy to do so. The unconditional love is always there as a parent, but the idea of not doing something more to influence the decisions of others, is very difficult.

I am sure others are convinced that I am deceived and on a path of inevitable self-destruction in my willing acceptance of my homosexuality, while others are convinced that I am deceived and doomed for self-destruction for denying myself and not embracing it fully and honestly with all in the open. The path I have chosen is my own, and all I ask is for love from those who know me. So, why then can I not ask simply of myself to love those family members who have chosen paths of their own self-destruction?

Oh the hypocrisy! Is there no other way to learn other than finding one's own path, even if that path is full of misturns, detours and dangers along the way?

The gate may be strait, but the path leading to it may take several different courses. And it is through those different paths of exercising agency, that we learn - as there is "no other way".

Why does agency always have to win out in the end when my way is better?


Ned said...

Well said. Nice to see you here again, Beck. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

MoHoHawaii said...

Agency [in others] is a frustrating and ill-conceived eternal principle.


Actually, there was a moment in this week's Modern Family (TV comedy) where the mother of a teenager hysterically intervenes to break up an ill-advised marriage proposal being made to her daughter. The daughter later confronts her and says, "Mom, I was going to say no [to the proposal], but you didn't give me that chance. You're always asking me to be an adult and then you never let me."

I think letting go is the single hardest thing for parents to face when their kids become adults. I think even more important than giving unconditional love is getting the hell out of the way. :- )

PNWReader said...

Good to "read" your voice again. Hope all is well. I continue to be fascinated with the idea that God considers agency more important than life itself. And that the length or quality of anyone's life is apparently of little consequence in the "eternal scheme of things". Agency trumps everything. Someone close to me makes consistently "bad" choices, but I have finally learned to celebrate his right to choose, even if the consequences are less than optimal. Not sure I could be so "objective" if it were my kids, though.

robert said...

The first step is recognizing one's powerlessness over the addiction (substance, behavior, etc.)Addictive behavior is not subject to rational thinking. If it was, people would simply stop the addiction or "think" their way out of it. For most, this is not possible. Hence, an admission of powerlessness (I give up trying to "understand" my addiction)is essential to the healing process. Without it, relapse is the most common outcome.

robert said...

For those in support groups, the first step would be to give up trying to "understand" someone else's addiction, because you never will but even if you miraculously did, it would not help the person in question to overcome the addiction. The addicted person inevitably has to chew on his own foot until he finds it unbearable. Just because you know that chewing on your foot is not healthy, you cannot convince a dog with a hurt paw to believe you.
Exit soapbox...

Beck said...

NED: I really haven't gone away... just a bit more quiet than in the past, but still here.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I feel the strength from them.

MOHOH: It's easy to say that a parent needs to "get the hell out of the way", verses really doing it, or allowing things to happen and having confidence or faith in the child becoming an adult and governing himself.

As much as I know this to be the correct thing to do, it is the hardest thing for me to do!

Beck said...

PNWReader: Interesting point that agency even trumps life itself. Celebrating "choice" is a place where I sincerely want to be someday. I'm not their yet.

I don't even celebrate my own right to choose, as I live a conflicted life (ironically by my choice).

Maybe as I come to terms with my own choices will I allow myself to come to terms with the celebration of choice of others.

Beck said...

ROBERT: I can sense that you are well versed in the steps of overcoming addiction. Do you find these steps actually work? And when do they work - if and only when one is willing to give his will over to God? Otherwise, until then, the chewing of one's own foot still seems to be a rational approach?

robert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
robert said...

An important point to make: It is about accepting that one is powerless over the addiction (ie irrational)and not powerless over everything in life. And it is a "higher power" and not necessarily a "god" that is the solace. Don't treat it like a religion. It is not that. And it requires work to work.