Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Are we so in control that we're out of control?
What are we really dealing with here?
I have control issues. I fully admit it, revel in it and have even tried to fix it. I think I came out of the birth canal with control issues.
Let's actually start there.
I weighed 2 lbs. when I was born. Back in 1952 my survival rate wasn't real high. Given my birth weight I was probably about 29 weeks when I was born. I was in a incubator for 3 months and only allowed to go home when I reached five pounds. Knowing what I do about premature babies there were all sorts of health issues that I could have had but didn't. I must have started fighting at birth.
One of the earliest memories I have is falling face first into a glass bowl filled with potato chips when I was four. All around me was chaos. No one knew if the glass was in my eyes and blood was streaming down my face. Someone had gone to get the doctor that lived across the street but I wanted "to see me bleed." The doctor came over and stitched me up right on the table. He threatened that if I moved I was going to the hospital. Evidently, I didn't move a muscle. My brother told me the only one who was in control that night was me.
Control morphed into perfection issues and organization issues. I would alphabetize my records and subsequently videos and then DVD's. I created my own Dewey Decimal system for my books. Even the spices in my spice cabinet were in alphabetical order. When I got into new home sales I would be like a whirlwind creating the perfect organizational system for my office.
Where did this get me?
I have been rocked to the core when I found out about chronic illness. Suddenly, after a car accident that I couldn't control, I found out that my body was not under my control anymore either. I always know that it could be a lot worse. The pain that I feel on a daily basis is nowhere near the pain of cancer and the subsequent therapy that goes with it. It's nothing like the emotional pain that people deal with when they experience the trauma of great loss. This is more like a constant, nagging pain that reaches up to slap you in the face every time you get a moment of life that is pain free. This pain never wants you to forget that it's still around and will take every opportunity that it can to steal your joy.
I think from the moment I opened my eyes for the first time I was engaged in battle. It was a control issue for my life and to this day I think control means survival. To let go of the control means I am at the mercy of God and I don't think I've ever done that. I don't mean that you let caution go to the wind and figure everything will be fine. I cannot see myself as Pollyanna; I mean, it's just not me. I'm definitely not made that way, however, I have to learn to see the bigger picture.
Life experiences bring all those traits we were born with to the forefront. The loss of control makes me feel imperfect and weak but isn't that what humanity is really all about? We are really perfect in our imperfection. This constant quest for perfection ultimately ends in never finding it. Even if we think we have it will never be quite good enough. I think part of letting up, even a little bit, is becoming flexible. Did I say I trouble with that as well?
I was watching a you tube video by Rick Butts. (I've included the link) He's a marvelous speaker and he was talking about control and happiness. He mentioned that the times we were the happiest was when we were in control and the unhappiest times was when we felt out of control. How true is that statement? I felt like he was talking right to me. I am truly the source of my own stress. When life gets you crazy or when you get you crazy.......do something simple. Like washing the dishes. In other words, do what you can do and don't worry about what you can't do. Thank you Rick! I really mean that!
Life is filled with things that are out of our control. I've lived that and you'd think I would have learned that lesson by now.
So what did I do?
Then I attended my pity party for one.
I denied it.
I got mad at it.
But I still haven't accepted it. (i'm working on it.)
But I am still doing the dishes.............