Musings on the Illusion of Control
Couldn’t sleep tonight. Never can on Sundays. Could be I am still jazzed from church. Could be I am too tired to sleep. Could be I start my nightly workouts at 10:00. Could be I had four Diet Cokes for supper. Could be all four.
Tonight I was thinking about control, or at least the illusion of it. I am 54 years old. Not yet old but old-ish. Certainly not young. And I have seen some things on my journey. Most good. Some great. Some horrific.
I have seen people die suddenly, people die slowly and dying people decide they wanted to live longer still. I have seen relationships forged, love promised and marriages blown apart. I have seen people accomplish great things and lose it all, only to unravel into a happier life than they had before and I have seen people destroyed by the same circumstances. I have made friends and became cross threaded with friends and made some friends for life. I have seen mended hearts broken, broken hearts mended and broken hearts that refuse to mend. I have discovered that control is an illusion. We can minimize risk, but we cannot eradicate it. Too many variables.
As I pause and take stock in what I have learned about life and living; I come back to four basic things:
1) Choose to love
2) Choose to be happy
3) Choose to forgive
4) Choose hope
I truly wish this world were not fallen. I wish all stories ended happily ever, all dreams came true, the people we loved didn’t die and all children grew up nurtured, happy and healthy. But that is the next world; not our own. It’s tough down here. And some days it seems tougher than we can bear.
So as we begin a new week, we are faced with a simple choice; we can love, be happy, forgive and have hope or hate and be miserable, bitter and hopeless. It is our call. It seems wrong that you have to fight for the good stuff but just because something must be fought for, does not mean it is unobtainable. Even in a fallen world. And choosing to fight for the good in life is really the only thing within our control.
On our last trip to the mountains, I saw this tree. It is not pristine or straight or tall and I would guess is seldom photographed. Clearly it’s life has been filled with obstacles and setbacks but it has chosen to live, to battle, to survive. Over the years, the things that precipitated its turns and twists have disappeared, leaving only a unique tree that chose life. Though it bears scars, its life is better now. Much better. It is a survivor.
At 54, life seems shorter than it once did but life is good. Really good. You don’t fall into a good life; you choose it. Every single day.
Peace dear friends…
-Rev. Shane L. Bishop is the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois