The Cost of Control

I want control, until I realize the weight of the responsibility that comes with it.
Control means tough choices, sometimes lose/lose.
I think about my friend Gina. She got sick with cancer, an aggressive form that forced she and her husband Chris to make what seemed like impossible decisions quickly.
1. Do they administer chemo, against what Gina believed and wanted to do?
2. Do they spend the money out-of-pocket on alternative treatments that have not been “approved?”
3. Do they let it go and see what happens?
No good outcomes, all end in suffering. In those moments, do we really want control? The weight and the stress that put on their lives was palpable.

They fought, they tried everything. They made the choice to stop all treatments and bring in hospice. I can only imagine they would have rather given that choice to anyone else to make. Give control to someone else. When we were sitting and crying together after that choice, I learned she had given it up. She did put it in God’s hands. She had let go of trying to control what was going to happen.

There was this strange and surprising peace about her. Her courage and grace in that moment left a permanent impression on my heart. I think of her all the time. She reminds me that I ave to try to control everything. Let’s face it…I don’t. We don’t. God has the wheel, and instead of trying to shout out directions, I am working to open my heart to listen.

Each morning I pray that God “open my heart and lift my eyes.” God is pursuing us, he wants to provide a life of peace and serenity. It doesn’t mean that life is always going to be what we want it to be. I hate that we lost Gina too early. I’ll never understand it. But I did see God in that moment with Gina. In the midst of the pressure and stress life brings, I find it comforting to give control over to God. Contrary to what I sometimes think, letting Him drive often feels like freedom.

Since I was small, my mom has recited the Serenity Prayer. They are some of the most powerful and comforting words in times of distress and despair:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen.

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