The slogan "live and let live" can sound pretty relativistic and valueless. It sounds like the saying "anything goes." But I have found it another way, as in "mind your own business." Live and let live says something about judging or trying to control others. It says something about not focusing on others rather on myself.
First I have to live, to find the grace mercy, gifts God has put in my life. I have to accept with thanksgiving that I am worth it, that I am good, that I am God's beloved. I have found that is hard for me. I don't think I am worth it. First my mother, then someone else, made demands of me for their happiness and wholeness. I was only permitted to live when they didn't want or perceive themselves as needing something from me. I learned to me a pleaser, someone who didn't know my own mind, but rather did everything I could to avoid the anger and the criticism of the other.
I am learning that I am not responsible for the happiness of anyone else. I am not responsible. I am not responsible. Only for me, am I responsible. I don't have to fix anyone else's unhappiness or mental illness. I can't anyway, even though I used to try.
My mother these days at 96 has moved into assisted living. She really needed to be there. She has needed it for quite some time. But, she isn't happy. I found her laying into me the other day on the phone and yelling all of her complaints to me. They were silly things in my opinion, they give her too much food to eat and she doesn't like some of it. She couldn't find the cups she used to decorate her hutch with. She doesn't feel like she fits in.
I was upset at this communication. It felt very much like she was blaming me for her unhappiness. I am a pleaser, I wanted to fix it. But, I can't. I can't make her younger with a better brain, I can't make her less fragile. I can return her cups. I took all of this to Mary, mother of God, because she surely gets it. I will continue to pray and meditate. But, live and let live means, I need to live. I need not to let my unhappy mother bring me down. I need to let her live, see that she is safe and cared for, and let her find her way into this old, old age. I truly can't do it for her. I am learning to "live and let live."