I’ve wrestled with this question for a good chunk of my life already but, the answer had eluded me for the most part until a few things happened that really made me take note and come to a semi-conclusion for myself and my own life.
Last summer, I was planning a BBQ with friends out in our backyard. It had rained almost every weekend and I feared that it might do so again in spite of the forecast calling for no rain.
I set up the backyard with tables for food buffet style and others with chairs to sit and eat. I even had one table for drinks in coolers both soft drinks as well as Coolers, Beer and Wine for those who wanted something a little harder. Everything looked perfect. Not a cloud in the sky and even the meats that I had marinated with a new recipe, looked and smelled great. Everything was set, including having made all of the salads that I wanted to serve.
There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun was shining brightly with warmth but, not a lot of heavy heat. It was perfect. Or, so I thought.
Everyone started arriving, I put out the drinks with their ice packs in the coolers, the salads and eventually, hubby started BBQing while everyone was having a seemingly good time, chit-chatting, laughing, music going and people generally in a fabulous mood, including myself.
As everyone was about to start eating, the winds picked up, the sky clouded over, darkly and began to spit rain. We all picked up as much as we could grab but, within 15 minutes, it poured. I mean, torrential downpours that had cropped up out of nowhere. Everyone grabbed whatever they could and we all headed inside, watching as paper plates, tablecloths, napkins, plastic glasses etc., were blown around the backyard.
My house is tiny and not everyone fit. Some left to go home while others lingered a bit and finished whatever drink and some munchies that we’d saved in a moment’s notice before they left as well.
Soon after everyone had left, the rain stopped and hubby and I, walked out the backyard to find the remnants of what looked like a tornado had torn into. In fact, one had cropped up about a 10 minute drive from our home. It took us a couple of hours to clean everything up inside and out.
As dusk hit, I sat outside with a tea, watching the sun set, sky perfectly clear as it had been earlier that day and looking at a couple of hundred dollars worth of meats that had to be thrown out. Hubby had gone to pick us up some McDonalds wraps as I had no energy left to cook anything more.
That’s when it hit me. We have some control but, we don’t have a lot especially, over Nature or other people.
I couldn’t bypass all of the illness, deaths, sadness, natural disasters, radicalized lost people, hurts, rejections and so many other things that do happen to all of us in Life if we live long enough and pay attention to the news. One way or the other, Mother Nature and other people were behind most, if not all of those happenings. About the only thing that we truly have at least some control over, is how we deal with or react to these forces. We don’t have much control over them.
- Mother Nature controls our genetics, natural disasters such as earthquakes, forrest fires, tornados, hurricanes, snow storms and the list goes on and on.
- People control who they want in their lives and who they don’t, who they will hurt and who they will praise and chase after, whether they will use you or abuse you, love and adore you or abuse and use you. They will also do their own thing no matter what you want them to do or not do for the most part.
In effect, we are all victims to whatever Nature and other people dish out to us.
Yes, we can attempt to put out forrest fires, watch our habits as humans to try to minimize global warming and pollution. We can stay away from people who hurt us and try our best to keep our noses out of places that they don’t belong. However, much like the storm that simply brewed up that day, out of nowhere and in spite of a “no rain forecast” for the day, we can’t stop these things from happening. We can only control how we react to them. We can’t stop them altogether.
Death, illnesses, tragedies, storms, fires, hurricanes, tornados and so much more are beyond our control. We can’t foresee everything that could potentially happen or we’d never live. We’d always be on guard against potential hurts or upsets. People will hurt us. We will be rejected and disappointed no matter how well we think we’ve treated others or what we do or don’t do. People will make up their own minds and go their own directions without thinking about us a lot of the time. That may or may not hurt us but, it’s certainly not under our control 100%. It’s under theirs to some degree. In other words, we are powerless over a lot in our lives that will happen no matter what we do or don’t do.
From my little corner of life to yours, as someone in a movie once said, “hang onto your hats. This is going to be a bumpy ride.” They meant it. Life is one bump after another. Yes, we will hit some smoother patches in the roads but, for the most part, we are going to have to deal with or cope with the bumps that we will all have to face one way or another, to some degree or another. The only thing that we have control over in those cases is how we deal or cope with those bumps and not much else.
From my little corner of life, I’ve come to realize that what we cannot control, we can only react to. I’m going to be trying to accept that fact and stop trying to control everything as it’s impossible. I may find those bumps not so hard to take when they happen because they were never mine to control in the first place. I will try to remind myself that like that storm during the BBQ,
“This too shall pass.”