I, Phyllis Pittman, herewith tender and proffer my resignation as Keeper of the World.
You may ask what exactly does being Keeper of the World entail? Well, I will enlighten you. It means that if a bird falls to the ground, you somehow feel responsible (not compassion, responsibility) for picking it up, restoring it to health, and building a nest for it, while it sits on a branch watching your labor and eating a big bowl of fresh worms (that you dug up for it).
Now this may closely resemble God’s job, except that He figures any self-respecting bird will build its own nest and capture its own worms. This realization is one of the reasons I finally decided to officially resign.
I know that I alluded to my resignation in recent writings. I really thought I had stepped down. But then I saw this Need. It was not my place to meet the Need; not my job to meet the Need; it was not even requested or expected by anyone that I meet the Need. But I was, after all, until recently the KOW (now that is an unfortunate acronym). So I stepped in. Kind of like a guest appearance.
Quickly realizing that I had overextended myself, I began to stress. My anxiety increased when I saw that my intervention actually created a hardship for the person I was trying to help. Now what to do? If I tried to extricate myself from the middle of other people’s business, the first person would be better off, but another party would be negatively affected. Why didn’t I just listen, nod, and sympathize and leave them to work it out for themselves? Because I have been the KOW for so long, trying to quit cold turkey did not work. Apparently, I need KOW Anonymous. Some form of accountability for quitting and staying clean. Thus, my official abdication.
Everything to do with the Need worked out, but that was the last act in my capacity as KOW. As mother, daughter, sister, and friend, I will be glad to assist my loved ones in any way that is both reasonable and requested. I will not, however, feel that I and I alone must solve everyone’s scheduling conflicts, budgetary issues, childrearing questions (that no one actually asked me), or social life. Yes, grandchildren, take that long sigh of relief. I will listen and be there for you, but I will not presume that I must solve all your problems or even tell you how to go about it.
What will life be like as a civilian? I don’t know. I’ve only been among the ranks of the enlisted for one day. I did, however, manage to only listen when my daughter was telling me about a problem she had. I was caring and concerned, but I did not run out and rearrange both my life and hers to see that everything was taken care of. It was very freeing for me. I just kept repeating, “Not my job. Not my job.” I think she was chanting it with me, but it sounded strangely like, “Oh, thank God. Oh, thank God.”