Sometimes I hate the world because it seems like I have no control over anything.
When our baby got here a month early, that was cool—because he was cool. But Aidan was one of the few things ‘beyond my control’ that turned out really well. My friend says I have "the back of an 80-year-old woman"—and while I hope that’s a slight exaggeration, it’s pretty close to the truth. The more I cater to their wishes, the more my vertebrae defy me.
I can’t control our car either. Ironically, I can control it on the road; it’s when I park it that things get out of hand. Someone walks by and smashes a window; someone else walks by and smashes the driver’s side mirror; I discover these things when I walk outside in the morning, and visualize money bursting into flame in our bank account. So I have this list…
My standard response to TICC is to get angry and want to hit something. In a way, I recommend this, so long as you are outside your apartment. Of course, it doesn’t really solve anything but for about a minute it feels good.
Ultimately, what do I do with this TICC list? The obvious answer is to gain control over everything, but this doesn’t work either, and it makes you a freak. Another route would be to stop caring, which can have the undesirable side-effect of making you wonder why you’re alive at all.
Which is why it’s good to think about these things as little as possible.
Maybe not, but to a lot of people, the real answer will be hardly better. Try it on:
In the end, the person who realizes that ‘control’ is a myth will be the last one laughing—and maybe the only person who has a genuine reason to laugh. When I realize that God runs the universe, and continues to do so when a vandal smashes my car and my back plays dominoes, I have stumbled on a source of comfort. I may be weeping in my coffee, but the sky remains the color of Aidan’s baby blanket, the sun falls like daffodil petals, and trees are waving their arms around.
God is nearby, and he's doing nothing to openly provoke me, but the wellness of the world implies that someone, somewhere, is laughing. After I stop cursing the way life works, and look at the people hurrying by in the street, I realize that it's God.
Surely you realize, he says, that none of you are really in control?
What God wants is childlike trust, and while this annoys the hell out of me, when I see straight I have to acknowledge that God is right, that this strange arrangement is an economy of grace, and the whole lovely-awful plot makes divinely perfect sense.
Control eludes me and not only will that 'have to be OK'--it is.