I think the love affair began when I was just a child.
There was some undefinable pleasure in making my bed, shelving my toys, books and games and hanging my clothes in just the right spot. Something so seductive, even for a child, in creating order. However, like an alcoholic who gets that first taste of liquor, this particular pleasure had an appetite and gradually, almost imperceptibly, I found myself attempting to control every aspect of my life. In some ways it is a fantastic way to live—the belief that everything is in its exact place. There is a deep satisfaction in being able to put your hand on exactly the document, book, quote, feeling and personality one needs. The knowledge that your life is neat and tidy like a well-made bed enables you to sleep soundly at night.
And then, quite rudely, you are made aware that control is a glorious illusion.
The dissipation of control happens in small ways throughout one’s life; a disappointing grade in one’s academic effort, an argument that escalates into a permanent estrangement, a rejection, a diagnosis and ultimately the dark and worrisome day when a total stranger wheels you into an operating room so another stranger can open your body with a knife. Those are the moments when one realizes the depth and breadth of powerlessness. I’ve always believed that control was power but maybe I was wrong – perhaps the real strength is to be found in recognizing our power-lessness. For all the attempted control in the world can’t keep the cancer cells from multiplying, the forest fires from burning and the destructive encroachment of identity theft. What if once we stop grasping it becomes possible to trust and in trusting . . . find peace. After all, we enter this world in a powerless state and if lucky enough to live a long life, end powerlessly. What if the real quest is to acknowledge our vulnerability and even embrace our dependence? What if the great revelation of our lives is that control is nothing more than a fantasy . . . a glorious illusion?The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul. He guides me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil for you are at my side with your rod and your staff you give me courage~ ~Psalm 23