Tuesday, August 21, 2018


I'm afraid that I'm losing control of life.

I am too highly sensitive a person. Pathologically sensitive, perhaps... hmm, I don't know. My human "shock absorbers" wore out a long time ago, so every bump goes right to the spine. And even in the best of times the road is really bumpy.

Lately, it's been like driving right through the middle of a war.

Maybe it's just my pride. I don't want to "lose control." It's humiliating. It exposes the hypocrisy of all my efforts to impress people, to pass myself off as a "deep person," and to hide all the failures and the utter mediocrity of my character.

Of course, there's also a little bit of common sense, and more (I hope) of a sense of responsibility to the small group of human beings in this world who have been entrusted to me in some concrete, consistent way (wife, parents, kids, brother, a few friends, and that mysterious "neighbor" who always turns up all over the place every day, whom I'm commanded to love).

I feel like I need to stay in control!

Or, rather, I feel like I need at least the illusion of "control" to keep from panicking. I have experienced the chaos of life inside my own head when it's out of control. I can't imagine going back to that kind of chaos.

I don't think that's going to happen again. I pray it doesn't happen again.

But right now, too much is crashing into me from too many places. I can't "handle it," at least not in the conventional sense that one is expected to handle things.

I also can't stop it from coming and continuing to pile on. But that may not be so bad after all. I'm being pushed (again) to "lose control" in the sense of letting go of my expectation that I can control reality—that I possess within myself the power to determine and measure the meaning of my own life.

But if I "lose control," who will take over in my place?

If I don't control the meaning of my life, then who does? Other people? Is the value of my life determined by those who "take control," those who manipulate minds with ideologies, those who have power in this world? This is an existential problem, which means it's a question that really punches me in the guts, and not just me.

This is one of the reasons why people are afraid to admit their vulnerability even to themselves, much less reveal it to others. If we are vulnerable, if we are weak, how can we protect ourselves from being defined (and perhaps used and discarded) by those who grasp hold of power?

I don't know if we can protect ourselves, ultimately, from being misused and humiliated by those who boast of their power and want to do violence to us. But we have to try to remember that—however overwhelming it may be—our vulnerability does not define us either. And no ideology or clique or group or anyone can take it upon themselves to be the measure of the meaning and dignity of a human person. The powers of this world have their limits, and therefore oppression has its limits.

For "the Lord hears the cry of the poor..."

God defines and controls the meaning of my life. He doesn't manipulate me. He is not some great and distant super-power, like the mafia boss of the universe, imposing a scheme on me that is alien to myself.

God is my Creator; He is the guarantor of my inviolable dignity, even when I am absolutely helpless.
God is Love. He has come to share my life, to share my weakness, to bear the afflictions that others impose on me (and even the ones that I impose on myself!).

"Losing control" means learning to trust more fully that Jesus Christ is "in control." When I say, "Jesus, I trust in you," I say it as a prayer. And sometimes it's a dark difficult prayer—a prayer that in a certain sense says, "Jesus I am afraid. I do not know how to trust. Give me the grace to trust in you."

It is after all grace, the gift of God's love, that saves, heals, and transforms our lives beyond our own power or anything else in this world.

Jesus really is in control, and He gives meaning to my life. He is greater than my pride and all my sins. He is with me and working within me even in my neuropathology, obsessions, oversensitivity, weakness, sickness, whatever. He is here, Jesus Himself.

Jesus is my hope. This is true even when the bombs are blowing up everywhere and my nerves are stretched beyond breaking and I don't feel His presence or even reflect on it because my mind is entirely taken up in the task of just trying to BREATHE....