I'm still very consumed with the idea of joy, Coffee Lovers. But I'll be writing on something a little bit different, though it may end up tying back into joy at the end. I never really know how these entries are going to turn out until I'm finished with them.
I wrote an essay today. It was written for my Theology class. I was instructed to pick three items that are indicative of my personality and place them in a specially decorated box. It was a way of introducing a parallel to the three reminders of faith placed inside of the Ark of the Covenant.
I picked a copy of The Fellowship of the Ring by Tolkien, a representation of music, and one of my favorite poems by the always stunning ee cummings. The essay discussed, first, these three items, and then discussed the way in which I decorated my box. It is the decoration of the box that led me to today's entry.
You see, I am what some people call a control-freak. I don't necessarily control others, but I have fashioned a life for myself that fits with my expectations, plans, and schedule. I control everything, because when I'm in control I feel safe. I've never trusted anyone - not a parent, a friend, a relative, or a god - to take the reigns of my life. It is wholly and completely mine.
And yet, I experienced something completely new the other day while working on the decorative aspect of my box. I painted it black, and then began to write on it in a silver, metallic pen. I was writing phrases and words that have special meaning to me. And the pen just stopped working. Then it started leaking. Then it started blotting. Then it sort of...erm...exploded. My gorgeous box was covered in blotches, smudges, and imperfections. And instead of yelling out in frustration, I laughed and made that the theme of my box.
In the very middle of it I wrote: Michael Abraham is Letting Go. And, somehow, I knew it was true.
The next day I was hurrying down a wet hill on campus in the dark and I slipped. I fell on my back and slid five feet down the hill, covering my backpack, shirt, shoes, and jeans in water and mud. What would have usually caused an explosion of frustration made me burst out laughing. I received strange looks from adults when I walked into the parking lot covered in mud and giggling to myself.
It's a baby step, but it's a baby step in the right direction.
I am in a wonderful play with a wonderful director and talented cast right now. But, I swear, every single Theatre God is conspiring against us. First, we moved our date due to the school's other production. Then we all got sick. Then we had snow days. And then the other male lead got the stomach flu, leaving myself and the female lead unable to rehearse over half of our scenes. It has been, to say the least, difficult. But never once has our cast reacted negatively. We move the show; we rehearse harder; we run lines at home; we let go of what we cannot change.
So much of my life is consumed by my own personal jihad against what I cannot change. I have always lived side-by-side with this idea that I am in control. But what do I actually control? Very little. I control myself and my reactions to everything else.
Last week I challenged myself and all of you to find the beauty and lovable aspects in everything, to find the joy that everything can bring us. But what joy can we hope to find when we are busy building locks for our treasure chests?
I think we all know the answer to that question.
I'm letting go of control, pouring a cup of stronger coffee, and sitting back with a good book today, because, for once in my life, I'm just not going to worry about much of anything.
May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.
(No one says this better than Francesca Battistelli in this song: