Who’s in Control?

Yesterday afternoon I wrote as my Facebook status, “simply doesn’t have time to be sick.” And I don’t. I’m trying to address comments from my editor at Oxford U Press on my book adapting Buddhist analytical meditations for Christians, write two journal articles, both of which have deadlines in the not-to-distant future, keep up with class preparation, and prepare for a number of retreats I’m giving. (And a few other things also.) So, no I don’t have time to be sick.

But our declarations about what we do and don’t have time for are of limited value. Last night my body said enough and I left a dinner I was attending mid-way through because I realized I couldn’t focus much longer and still had to drive home. And after being up a good part of the night, my body refused to get out of bed at 5:30 this morning. (I groaned when I turned over and saw it was 7:00.) So I looked at my datebook and realized I only have one thing at 12:30 and can just stay home until then.

I don’t like being sick. I prefer to have things run according to my plans and that does not include feeling so hazy that I feel like I am operating in slow motion (not to mention blowing my nose every 12 seconds).

But experiences like this are useful reminders that we do not have the control we like to think we do over things. We would like to think we can will ourselves (and our environment) through whatever we choose. But we can’t. And it is useful to realize that.