If I were a superhero, I would wear a flashy cape and call myself Fixer Woman (said with as much fanfare as possible, please).
I love to fix things.
From can openers to conundrums of the heart, I do my best to solve the problem and make repairs — for one and all. I do not hoard my gift of fixing.
For years, when I have noticed a problem in a relationship, I tackled that problem head on. I believed it was my duty. After all, I am here to fix things.
After 47 years on this earth, I finally have figured out something big — and it didn’t come to me in a lightning bolt. It took a while — and a degree of suffering to go along with the passing of time. To save you the agony, I will share my newly gained insight: Fixing a plumbing issue gone kaput is one thing. Having the intention to fix a predicament gone wrong with a close friend or relation is something else.
At last, I have realized that sometimes the thing to do is wait.
I don’t have to try to fix every broken heart or relationship the moment it occurs to me that there’s an issue.
Sometimes, I’m just supposed to wait.
Not taking action, at least for me, is far more difficult than simply being.
Before I go any further down this path, let me say that I am not advocating anyone sitting on the urge to say, “I’m sorry,” or “Woops, my bad. I was wrong. Will you forgive me?”
I’m a big believer in readily admitting fault and the release it offers. However, what I am saying is that once that sincere exchange has happened, I am finally aware that I don’t need to work so hard at making things right. When the time comes, I’ll know.
Until then, I just need to hold it in as much grace as I can muster.
My fix-it nature was nurtured and took flight 17 years ago when I took to heart Edmund Burke’s quote, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Those words fed my desire to do all I could so that evil wouldn’t triumph — and let me tell you, that’s a lot of responsibility.
As you may have guessed, even with doing all the good I could find the energy to do, it turns out that I am not a superhero and was, in fact, unable to stop evil.
The sweet spot between passivity and taking action lies in listening to our hearts. When we’re not supposed to make that call or revisit that topic, there’s generally some internal debate.
Going forward, I’m going to try to pay more attention to that debate. Likewise, when the time is right, we usually know that too.
The bottom line is that making time and space to listen to what’s going on in my heart is critical toward letting things fix themselves — as opposed to frazzling ourselves to a wither in an attempt to fix everything in our path.
Cue the music.
Fixer Woman to the rescue.
Maybe I don’t have to be Fixer Woman anymore.
Maybe the greatest good sometimes happen when I’m quiet and waiting. I have to walk that fine line because going too far in the other direction would result in too much passivity.
Balancing the need to do good and a natural tendency to take action with a call-to-wait requires a faithful and steady effort.
That means waiting on the natural path of healing and to stop forcing things along.
Recognizing that pushing things—from conversations to fraught relationships—seems rarely to make things better took a while, even when my intent is to fix whatever was that was broken.
My folly was that Burke’s quote propelled me to take too much action. Maybe it’s a part of aging that I finally had the big realization: Sometimes I just need to sit and be — and wait.
Fixer Woman to the rescue no more.