Step 1 Powerlessness: Peace Like A River

The previous four days have been completely wrought with high emotion, deep distress, and life-changing events. Most of the stress and conflicted thoughts and feelings centered around my co-dependent qualifier, Keith, whom I sincerely and honestly believe experiences Borderline Personality Disorder. A significant amount of his symptoms, especially the anger, were triggered by my son’s treatment of him when we attended his wedding on Saturday, cementing the rift between them.

Another potentially triggering event was that LaLa once again needed to leave where she had been living, bring some of her things here, and stay here temporarily, on the same day he came home. Those of you who have been following for a while may recall how badly that went the last time it happened.

Thankfully, LaLa has grown and matured, as have I. So, she was more cognizant of the role her own actions and choices have in contributing to conflict, especially with Keith. She’s doing the work on her inner self that she needs to do. I’m so proud of her and was grateful to have her around.

I think the most difficult thing about my life’s choices and the resulting consequences and turmoil is the realization that I don’t have the power to change my past decisions and their outcomes. Another difficult thing is being able to see and appreciate the good that comes from what seems and feels so bad. The latter difficulty appears to cancel out the former difficulty.

A friend posted this today:

I may regret the pain and sorrow my two oldest children experienced as a result of my relationship with Keith. I may wish we had been less toxic with one another and had found our path to functionality and healing sooner. Our present difficulties may trigger feelings and thoughts that try to feed my inner fears and demons. Yet, none of that means I regret Keith’s existence, because without him, Luna would not exist.

After examining myself and facing my inner truth, I know that regardless who my partner in dysfunction was, I would have been the same me I was and my oldest kids would have suffered from that, regardless who I was in relationship with.

Because it was Keith, we have Luna, who is the love and light of not only her daddy’s eyes, but the thread of love and joy that connects us all, even though the rift between her father and brother is so deep and wide it currently seems unnavigable.

I am powerless to heal that rift. I can’t reason or explain away the anger, resentment, and deep wounds that exist between them. I can’t control or dictate when, if, or how they are going to interact, forgive, or work through their damage.

I just know I can’t and won’t close either one of them out of my life and my heart.

As we were driving away from the wedding on Saturday and Keith continued to rant and rave in overwrought anger because he was so hurt by the rejection and ostracization he experienced by my son, all I could do is close my eyes and breathe.

It hurt me deeply to hear what he was saying: I hurt for him, I hurt for me, I hurt for Luna, who was hearing her dad, and I hurt for my son. I had no ability to intervene and stop the flow of words, thoughts, or feelings emanating and overflowing from Keith’s side of the car.

I felt my pulse pounding, my heart skipping beats, an explosive pressure building up in my head, and the constricting, choking sensation closing my throat and causing my breathing to come in short, incomplete bursts.

I began thinking of an old hymn, actually one phrase, “Peace like a river.” I closed my eyes and began praying and hearing the hymn inside my mind. As I did, I began recalling the story of the lyricist. This man lost so much and went through incredible hardship prior to writing the words to this song. His tale was a modern (in his time) story of Job.

The realization came that if a man who has gone from the height of socioeconomic and familial success to the overwhelming loss of it all in uncertain times, can experience and write about such profound spiritual and inner peace because he experienced it, then I can too.

My peace cannot continue to be dependent on people or circumstances, relationships or the approval of others. My peace has to become founded on the knowledge that regardless of what is happening in or around me, “it is well with my soul,” and my story is still being told.



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    1. Athena,
      You’re welcome. Doing my part to make the connections with Bloggers for Peace. Since you were the one who introduced me to the idea, it made sense for you to be my first connection.



  1. Kina,
    This is such a powerful and personal posting for peace. Thank you. I don’t know who Dahlia Lance are, but her words ring true. Thank you for trying to create peace for the next generation. Thank you for forgiving and forging forward with love. Thank you for sharing this wonderful hymn. {{{Hugs]}} Kozo


    1. Kozo,
      Thank you so much for visiting and for your encouraging comment. I especially want to thank you for founding Bloggers for Peace and doing something to help unite us all in peace efforts large and small.

      Dahlia is the best friend I’ve never met. We became online friends in 2006 and have remained friends because of her no-nonsense, calls it like she sees it way of viewing and interacting with the world.

      With all the conflict about church and Christianity, it is good to know and remember that the core of it is about Faith, Hope, and Love, the greatest of these being Love, all of which lead to peace inside and outside if we can stay focused on these things instead of the things that divide us. Hymns and worship songs do that for me. Music is one of the most powerful voices that have spoken to me of peace, especially having grown up in the USA during the 70’s. So, when I need to access or create inner peace, hymns like this are what help me meditate and receive peace.

      I’m very happy to be part of this project for promoting peace.



      1. Kina,
        I can’t agree with you more about the core of Christianity or any religion for that matter. I also agree about the power of hymns. I once broke down in tears while singing along with to Amazing Grace. Thank you for blessing B4Peace with your loving ways. {{{Hugs]}} Kozo


  2. Kina we are all powerless over other people’s reactions and feelings – the only person we can control is ourselves – how we react to situations and the ways in which we can change our thinking. I say the serenity prayer often to remind me of that – here is my version:
    God Grant me the Serenity
    To accept the PEOPLE I cannot change
    The courage to accept the ONE I can
    And the wisdom to know it is ME
    Hope that helps xxx


  3. Words to live by! It’s basically what I’m trying to learn myself to control my anxiety a bit. I can only control myself and strive to do the best that I can do. What others do and think shouldn’t cause me so much stress. At least, that’s what I’m taking this post to mean 😉


    1. Pam,
      The only way I’m learning that helps me to control my anxious and depressive thoughts is to pay attention to them and try to identify the underlying issue & trigger. Then to figure out what it is I need to see, hear, do, or say in order to redirect it. Most of the time the trigger is that I want to change someone else’s view of me or a loved one and change how they react/respond to me or my loved one. At that point, I have to admit that I am powerless over their thoughts words or perceptions. I also have to recognize that I cannot change what anyone thinks says or does. I need divine help in remembering how to change my own reactions and responses.

      If you are human, and I assume you are, what others do and say are going to affect you. We are designed that way. What you and I and everyone else get to do is decide what we are going to do about those effects. When we feel stressed we need to have a number of tools to help minimize the stress.

      I have a lot of internal reaction to other people. I’m doing a lot of meditating on my powerlessness.

      Good luck with your endeavors.



  4. Kina:

    Again I am inspired by you. Regret, sorrow, pain, love, determination, profound courage, faith, choosing your thoughts. You describe your strong feelings and challenging situations, then make the shift to a peaceful and positive mindset. I really appreciate your writing and your perspectives. I’ve heard this hymn…but never HEARD it this way. Thanks again!!



    1. Diane,
      Thank you, that means a lot.

      It requires a lot of thought and energy to move into the positive after wallowing in the negative for so long. I’m grateful it is helpful for you.



    1. Diana,
      I often find that the lyrics to songs speak to my heart and give me the insight and inspiration to go through my life.

      I don’t have many songs if the “old hymn” variety in my mental/emotional library. However, the ones I do have a depth of power and significance that just sets me back on solid footing.



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