Last Sunday morning, after I was dressed for church, I picked up a glass of iced tea and promptly spilled it down the front of my outfit. Then as I was leaving the house, my purse strap caught on the doorknob of the front door, jerking me off balance and causing most of the contents of my purse to scatter across the front porch. After I picked up that mess and moved on to step into the car, I realized that I had left my Bible on the kitchen island. I left the car to return to the house to retrieve my Bible, forgetting that my front door was now locked and my door key was on the key ring inside my purse inside my car. I retrieved my door key, went inside the house, got my Bible and returned to the car, only to begin wondering if I had remembered to turn off my curling iron.
Life may be a comedy of errors, but I am not laughing. I feel like the kindergarten teacher who likened her day to trying to keep 17 corks submerged under water at the same time. I can’t win for losing. The hurriedier I go, the behinder I get.
Logic tells me that in order to combat these daily snags, I need to:
(A) Make lists. I do make lists.
(B) Plan ahead. I do plan ahead. That is why I make lists.
(C) Learn to say ‘no’ to some people and some things. I have learned to say ‘no’ to some people and some things. My lists used to be longer.
I tell myself that the fact that life is frustrating is my fault. On the day that I finally manage to plan better and work harder, life will fall in line and start playing by my rules and utopia will begin.
Thus, I agonize, strategize, and organize, with the goal of gaining control, but the day of serenity never comes. Instead, I identify with the thoughts of the Wise Man, Solomon, recorded in Ecclesiastes 2:11: Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.
Life will never play by my rules because I am not now and never will be in charge. I have power to control very few of the things that life brings my way. Life, however, has incredible power to control me if I allow it to do so. My task is not to function so expertly that aggravations do not occur, but to recognize that they will occur and then respond appropriately to them.
Tomorrow, despite my good planning and hard work, I will probably once again lose, spill and break things. I hope I respond to those irritations by calmly looking for, cleaning up and repairing those things. Believing that through my own diligence and effort I can prevent such occurrences from happening is simply a chasing after the wind.