Letting Go Of Control Is A Lesson I Try To Learn Every Day

I turned 21 the month after I became one of my grandmother’s primary caregivers. Days before having celebratory first legal drinks with my friends, I was sitting in hospital rooms learning to give up control. Weeks after my birthday, the colder winter months would continue to teach me the same lesson.

There was nothing I could do other than sit.

I sat in waiting rooms, in hospital lobbies, in chapels as I prayed. But even then, when I was surrounded by pews that told stories of people who had knelt down and asked, I would just sit. There was nothing I could tell God there that I hadn’t already told him. My only string of thoughts were, “give me strength to get through whatever I need to get through.”

Lately, I wake up every morning and I pray in a way that makes sense to me. It’s fractured, interrupted by thoughts that come in and out with the speed of a text message alert, because it’s the nature of my life. There are many moving parts, each asking of me different things, and while I lay in bed I ask for the same two things, patience and the humility to accept that there comes a point control is no longer an action in my grasp.

I learned to let go of control during a time of battle, so sometimes my mind equates only extreme situations as ones I can’t control. I can’t control medical situations, so I don’t try to. I can’t control my initial reactions to triggering environments so I wait for the opening that lets me take control of the second reaction.

Now though, I also sit in ordinary moments and remind myself that I can only ask so many times. There comes a moment when nudging them on the side reaches the point of no return — when my arm hurts, their side is bruised and we’re stuck in the same pattern.

To let go in ordinary situations is to accept humanity — mine and their’s — as a ever-changing dance. Moments of selfishness could be followed by moments of extreme awareness, or maybe they’re not. Giving up control may trigger someone else to pick it up, or maybe it won’t.

In a world that asks us to speak, I’m a run-on sentence that’s afraid to stop. Because while quiet and sitting still have taught me to let go of control, they’re also my biggest reminder that when you let the tension out of your shoulders and unclench your fists, anything can happen.

And a lot of things are scary. I live for the handful of moments that lead to the strength that carry you through the scary and into the next one.