When It Is Out of Your Control

It is the things you cannot do anything about, and the things that you cannot do anything with that do something to you:   (Rohr & Ebert, Enneagram, p. xx)

This is a very hard lesson for we Americans in the U.S. to learn.   One of the virtues in our culture of individualism is self-reliance.  “Pulling oneself up by one’s own bootstraps” is something to brag about in the good old USA.  Frank Sinatra sang to our applause “I Did It My Way”.

But there will come a time, sooner for some and later for others when all of us will have to deal with things that we cannot do anything about and yet they will greatly affect us.   E.g.  we lose a job at the height of our career and cannot, despite our fervent efforts, find anoother one.   We lose a spouse to death and nothing we can do will bring them back to life.   We are in an accident and lose a leg or are paralyzed and nothing anyone can do can change that.   To put it as one of my grosser friends often stated:   “Shit Happens!”   And it happens to all of us!

It is at that time we realize we are not the sole ones in control of our lives.   We realize that others control our lives in various ways and we can’t do anything about that.   We realize, finally, that God is ultimately in control of our lives.   God and others do things that we “cannot do anything about and things we cannot do anything with…”   They are beyond our individual control.  

Perhaps we then will need to remember the words of Jesus:   “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”  (Luke 10:27)

At those times both God and neighbor give us the support we need to cope with the things we cannot change.

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