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  • Writer's pictureKelly Marks

In Control

I had my day planned. Breakfast, followed by devotions, paperwork and tying up loose ends for a company I’ve been hired to speak to, run errands, write this blog, teach and hopefully then collapse. It was going to be a full day, but fully manageable. Are you laughing yet?

I was sitting in the kitchen drinking my coffee, and I noticed a kerfuffle on the patio. I slipped my glasses back on and focused on the commotion. A hawk had landed right outside the window. In its talons was a little chipmunk. The hawk spread his wings around his prey as he bent down to peck it to death. Not exactly a view of pristine natural surroundings to accompany the peace of the morning.

Then Madi called as she was making lunch. She began regaling me with imitations of her new British professor. Although it was throwing my timing off it was so totally worth it. But I was starting to get a little more conscious of how quickly time was slipping away.

Paul came downstairs and announced that the cell phone bill was over $800 this month. A good solid panic set in because Madi had changed her phone over to international service, and we had been texting and calling. Had we missed something? We were being charged for all of the calls?

The complexion of the whole day changed in a minute. And I know it can always change in much bigger ways with a diagnosis, an accident or just much worse news than an astronomical bill. But it threw yet another monkey wrench into the day.

As I mentally started rearranging my schedule, I realized it’s the loss of control that bothers me the most. It’s the reason so many people dream of going off the grid.

We picture a little cabin in the woods by a gurgling stream. The forest is peaceful and quiet, lush and green. The stream is soothing and deliciously cold. Pure water straight from Mother Earth. Woodland creatures nibble delicately from the flora that abounds nearby.

Instead we are faced with the roar of traffic from our backyards, phones chiming incessantly with notifications from Twitter and other platforms about horrible things going on around the world, and then closer to home, people from family and work are having emergencies of their own that somehow shift our own day off its axis.

Today shifted, and I got everything straightened out a little bit, and then it shifted again. Being fed up, I finally walked away from work and went to CVS to pick up some migraine medicine feeling sure it would be needed soon. While I was in line, a friend I have not seen for a while jumped in line behind me.

We spent a few minutes catching up. Her daughter started college this fall. Major life changes coming on the heels of a pandemic, being away from home and meeting all new people is turning out a little harder than anticipated. Mom feels helpless and out of control, but she explained some of the tips and tricks she’s giving her daughter. She said she’s trying to give her tools so she can learn to handle things herself instead of Mom jumping in to fix and control everything. What an amazing parent she is. And what an amazing reminder for me.

Maybe I need to quit looking at my schedule, pull out my coping toolbox and see what kind of good stuff can pop up during a chaotic day. Earlier when I quit trying to manage everything and took off to run an errand, look what happened. I got a good dose of “use what you’ve been given and let the rest go.” I have a feeling there’s a lot more of the good stuff out there if I’ll let go of the agenda and get into the flow.

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