The word ‘gatekeeper’ is defined in the dictionary as, ‘a person who guards a gate.’ Seems simple enough. So why don’t we let the gatekeeper do her job. Often, we resist her speaking into our lives. She tries in earnest to safeguard our emotions, minds, and hearts; yet we rebuff her efforts. We think we know better, so we disregard her and do things our way.
Until our way proves wrong.
Then we recall the time when she whispered in our ear not to invite that person into our lives. Or begged us to see someone exactly for who they are; not whom we wished them to be. Or the moment when we knew that we were in big trouble, tucked our tails, and humbly sought her greatly needed guidance.
Recently, I had to call upon my gatekeeper. Unlike most of my life, I now unabashedly seek her protection. I rely on her, trust her. When uncertain, I anxiously await her wisdom and dutifully comply.
Someone who was once a significant part of my life, but is now in it peripherally (and only because of familial ties) tried to share news with me that they knew I likely would not want to know. One evening, I received a matter-of-fact text message asking whether I wanted to be informed of the news. I did not. So I did what any I-could-care-less-about-your-breaking news person would do. I ignored the message. The very next day, the person upped the ante. This time, they did not ask. Instead, they sent another text message that included the unwanted news along with photos serving as the exclamation point. They could have easily guessed that the news would anger, maybe even hurt me. In hindsight, I am sure that was the objective. That has always been their way–to seek self-satisfaction by any means and at anyone else’s expense. Far too often, mine.
My body trembled with fury. After countless transgressions and unquantifiable injuries, even a simple request to be left unbothered was not worthy of compliance. So, this person brazenly tried to infiltrate my thoughts and leave lasting images to harken my mind. I lost it and unleashed an arsenal of rage. Years of hurt and disdain came boiling to the surface. I was outside of myself. I had not been this person for so long. And in a flash, she was back.
Suddenly, my gatekeeper appeared.
She quietly interrupted my tirade and questioned why I was doing this-not to the other person, but to myself. She reminded me that this person is broken; akin to non-salvageable damaged goods. She told me that any additional words or emotions expended would be an exercise in futility. My gatekeeper acknowledged the several years that I have vacillated between maintaining and severing a connection rooted in so-called family ties. She schooled me on the fact that some family ties are in name only and not of the heart. She was right. Then she questioned the value this person brings to my life. I had to admit, none. She then asked whether I am better because of their absence. Indeed I am.
And with that, she persuaded me to end the text battle along with the years of pain and trauma. She reassured that these intermittent storms could easily be wiped out by all of the light in my life. If I let it. She insisted that even the one reason that kept me connected all of these years was no longer reason enough. It was time to let it go–for good.
And so, I will.
Once considered an adversary, my gatekeeper is now my most trusted ally. I listen for her voice. Without her, I would be lost–still roaming, still in the wilderness. But with her, I am my strongest self, my safest self, my best self. I can rest assured that even when I don’t have the answers to life’s greatest dilemmas, she will gently place her hands on my shoulders, and lead me where there is light, where there is love.
I am her and she is me. And together, from it all, we are free.