On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was wounded in an assassination attempt by John Hinckley, Jr. Controversy ensued when Secretary of State Alexander Haig made the infamous pronouncement, “I am in control here” as he waited for V.P. George H.W. Bush, who was in Air Force Two flying over Texas, to return to the White House.
At that moment, “I am in Control Day” was born, at least according to my calendar of wacky holidays.
When I first heard about this holiday, I thought “this is a holiday I really could get into.” As anyone who has experienced cancer or any other life-threatening or chronic illness knows, the first thing that happens to you is the sense that you’ve lost control. Your emotions are all over the place. You suddenly don’t trust your body and you come face to face with your own mortality which you hadn’t planned on meeting yet. You have a whole host of people giving you advice on what to do—go for this test, take this treatment, eat this, don’t eat that, exercise, stay positive.
Then as you start to deal with all this, there are the things you discover you can’t do now, and sometimes the changes are long-lasting or permanent. And it’s all out of your control. You didn’t ask for this, you didn’t choose it, it’s not the direction you were steering your life until this happened. Even now, nearly three years after finishing treatment for breast cancer, I still feel sometimes as if a part of my life is out of my control.
So I thought, “Wow, I’m taking this day to be in Control. I’ve earned it!” Then a funny thing happened. When I started to figure out just what I wanted to do on this day to be in control, I realized that the new direction my life has been moving in these past few years is exactly what I would choose if I felt totally in control. I’ve grown closer to many in my family, I’ve made some wonderful new friends, I’m really enjoying my new writing career and being able to reach out and help others going through tough times. So maybe I don’t need to take control, maybe I’ll just continue to follow that old saying, “Let go and let God.”
Stretch says there’s nothing out of control in his life, so he’s not going to bother about this day. He’s busy starting his spring gardening. Wonder what he’ll be growing?