the (dis)illusion of control

have you ever noticed our human tendency to fool ourselves into thinking we're in control? of anything outside ourselves? we learn so quickly that we can manipulate little things around us... and some of us are very much prone to allowing others to "control" at times...

ezri is on her tummy, on her little blanket, staring at the mirror i've propped up. she has become adept at grasping it and drooling all over it... but when she gets truly dissatisfied with it, and her position, she screams. it's actually kind of cute. but she knows, already, that if she makes enough noise someone bigger than her will come running and fix it.

smart baby.

recently, i heard someone say (basically), "i guess i didn't start praying for the right thing soon enough". wow. this made my head spin. the whole phrase makes me cringe. it implies that the speaker thought that in order to get what you want, you have to get your christmas list in to God by a certain time... that, somehow, we can simply order up our future by dialing in the right prayer at the right time.

pretty sure that's not how God works. i'm not even sure the person who said that realized how that sounded, or that s/he thinks that's how prayer works either. but what frightens me, and makes me take a hard look at my own habits and phrases and so on, is how easily that idea slipped out... and the fact that it implies a sense of perceived control.

i just finished writing something for my daughter in which one of the big things i shared with her is a statement that i have made a mantra at times: the only person i can change is myself. i've had this lesson taught over and over in my life. through a failed marriage full of mistrust and control and anger, through my own struggles with addiction and depression, and even through meeting and falling in love with my best friend... through positive and negative experiences, i've learned and relearned that i cannot control another person, ever... and i can definitely not control any situation that comes my way.

what i can do is work on me, and accept that life may throw some weird things my way but i can be flexible and open. when i open myself up to whatever God is pulling me through, i can grow and learn anything. some of the worst times in my life have become tipping points, the climax that leads to life changing decisions big and small. because i have been in a relationship where the person i loved thought he needed to "control" me, i know how it feels to be crushed into a mold that isn't me. after that, you fight anything and everything that might mean conformity.

years later, i've realized that not everyone or everything will control me. i can make choices. i make the choice every day to teach my child how to live in this world as an equal with delight and curiosity, i make the choice to love those around me whether they appreciate it or not, i make the choice to do right and to be unafraid of what others might think. i can be loving and considerate and still do what i need to do...

and it's so much less stressful than battling to control every tiny thing around you because you are afraid of the unknown. in my experience, as soon as you think you have a handle on it all, the whole thing comes crashing down and you have to start again. that's just too much work for me.