True Belongings

There is very little in our lives that we can control. We can make plans and be incredibly organized. In the end, however, this only guarantees the likelihood that we will be prepared for things we’ve predetermined may or may not happen. Planning does not illuminate nor prepare us for things that are impossible to imagine. Robert Burns wrote “To a Mouse”, from which we know the familiar line, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry“.

We do not plan nor prepare for accidents, illnesses, or disabilities. We don’t plan for things to go “awry”. Even when trying to prepare for confrontation with an individual, we cannot fully prepare for every scenario as we cannot accurately anticipate how someone may respond. We do not plan to “get fired from a job we love”, and we do not plan to lose a parent in death, or a child to poor decisions and sin. (I do not plan in advance for Chloe to drop a wet, slobbery duck in the middle of my keyboard attempting to get me to play with her on this wet, rainy day! Play breaks are important to my intelligent assistance dog! If I’m at home working all day, she needs some form of stimulation. I embrace play breaks with wet, slobbery ducks with… umm… enthusiasm?)

I’m a “planner” and someone who happens to be “big on details”. It means that I have developed great organizational skills, having honed some God-given talents to the point that I basically drive my entire family crazy. Someone who has great organizational skills often struggles with control issues as well. I can openly admit that I have “control issues”. I don’t like surprises. Heaven help the person that ever throws a “surprise party” for me. I don’t like them. I’m a planner, and one can’t plan for surprises. Planning for things, and preparing for activities are important to me. The one thing that can suck the air out of my lungs and leave me struggling for breath is a surprise. Have I mentioned yet that I hate surprises?

I never planned to have a hearing loss. I didn’t sit down at the age of twenty-five with a babe on each knee and daydream about being deaf. “I think… in ten years I’ll lose all of my hearing and rely solely on advanced technologies in order to hear and communicate!” We don’t ever plan for loss of any kind. Sure! We all know we WILL experience loss. It’s not a question of “if” we will, rather “when” we will. All types of losses, although expected, cannot be fully anticipated. At some point in time we are going to be sitting in the dirt on our caboose wondering… “What just hit me?”

I am in the process of reading for the third time the book entitled: When the Game is Over It All Goes Back in the Box by John Ortberg. God has used this author in my life a great number of times, and I highly recommend his books. He quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh,’s “I am of the nature” in chapter six.

I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health.

I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.

All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.

My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.

The only thing we will ever really own are our actions triggered by personal choices. I have to smile when I hear someone say, “I made an intelligent, informed choice!” We cannot ever truly be completely informed of all of the facts. Life is unkind in that regard. We can make decisions based on things we know, but what we do not know is far more likely to affect us. What we fail to anticipate tends to be the driving force behind change. Who I am today was shaped by what I was not prepared for; I am the result of a Master’s plan and not my own. I am the consequence of my actions, which are my only true belongings.

I try to begin each day by waving a white flag of surrender. I do not have access to the Master Plan. I am not able to even peek over His shoulder to see what my day holds. But I do, however, have access to the “Master”. My daily surrender is to self… I do not have control over my life. But I can actively choose to trust the “Master” and His plan for me. (One of my earliest posts was about having a blueprint for my life).

It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to know I have true belongings. I own my choices and am responsible for my actions. To find true peace, we must trust the Master to the “plan”.

At the request of my husband, I watched the movie “Master and Commander”, starring Russel Crowe. He had to twist my arm to see it as “war films” are not what I normally choose to watch in order to unwind! I actually learned a lot from the movie, but likely not the historical war highlights my husband had hoped. One particularly “educating” moment was when Captain Jack Aubrey, said, “England is under threat of invasion, and though we be on the far side of the world, this ship is our home. This ship *is* England.

I had one of those incredible moments in time where everything about my life sort of “snapped” into focus. My testimony is a reflection of my Savior… my Master. It gives me great comfort to know that Heaven – “on the far side of the world” – is my Home. But for now, this life… this “ship” is my home. I live each day faced with decisions about how I will live with my disability. Reacting” is subconscious, but it births the conscious decision to “act”. Those actions are my true belongings.

We all have true belongings. Those of us who have “control issues”, need to learn to relinquish our “plan” and focus on our actions TODAY.

Denise Portis
©2008 Hearing Loss Diary

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One thought on “True Belongings

  1. Happy birthday, Denise. My, you are still a spring chicken! I loved this post because I, too, am an organized person who is plagued with “control issues”. I pray that I can learn to relinguish my plans and focus on my attitudes and reactions.

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