Faith and The Things You Can Control

Well, it certainly has been an interesting November so far. I’m rather flabbergasted and just don’t know what to say so I think it’s best just to say nothing and wait until all this strangeness plays out. In the meantime, reviving a flagging spirit through prayer and meditation is probably the best course of action at this point.

Years ago, long before the internet, time management was all the rage just like all those Planners you see every September. YouTube is loaded with “Plan with Me” videos; lots of stickers, fancy pens, and artistic expressions. But in those early days, there wasn’t any of that available. Franklin Covey was a leader in this endeavor. I remember obtaining a cassette tape (remember those?) with a time management lecture being given by the then CEO of Franklin planners. The one thing he said has stuck with me over the last 30 years or so because it proved to be words of wisdom.

“Imagine you are in the center of a room”, he said. “On the left is a wall that represents everything you cannot control. On the right is a wall that represents everything you can control. Your job here is to focus on what you can control and accept that there are a lot of things you can’t control. Plan accordingly”.

Since we all understand that we are in the midst of a Twilight Zone episode with much we cannot control, we might as well focus on what we can control, namely our thoughts, our choices, and our actions. When life gets overwhelming I just do what’s in front of me because that’s what I can control. I wash the dishes, do the laundry, make the bed, feed the cat because those small routines remind me to be present right here, right now.

Yes, you can wring your hands and worry over the state of things. This chaos hovers over our heads and in the back of our minds like an evil shadow. But this quote may offer some comfort:

26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these…33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:26-29,33)

Wise words in tough times.

Last night, amidst the ever-growing crazy political upheaval and intrigue, I clicked on a short video on YouTube of what happened to the Austrian-Hungarian empire of the Hapsburgs toward the final days of World War One. The once-powerful dynasty began to crumble, separate, and reassemble itself into smaller independent countries: Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia, and other countries. Can you imagine just what those ordinary people faced with ever-shifting boundaries? One day your village is in one country and a week later you are suddenly in another one altogether. Our ancestors faced many challenges just like this everywhere and at different times.

Things change constantly. As members of the human race, we’ve been through all this before in other times and other places under similar circumstances. War, pestilence, poverty, famine, revolution, invasions, and all kinds of shenanigans. That is why it is more important to focus ultimately on the state of your soul, your relationship to the Divine, and cultivating peace of mind through faith and mindfulness.

We will get through this, just as our ancestors did. We may be a bit tattered at the edges, disappointed, disgusted even, but stronger, hopefully, wiser, and more attuned to the Divine in faith, hope, and love.

Whatever the outcome, take care of yourself and those you love and are important to you. Focus on what’s in front of you and leave the rest to its unfoldment.

 

 

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