Last weekend I got to spend some time in Rainier National Park! It was absolutely stunning and we were blessed with perfect weather. While hiking at Paradise, I couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that I was standing at the base of one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. The possible ramifications of an eruption are decently catastrophic yet people still choose to hang out in the park and live in the Seattle metro area. We all blissfully go around hiking on the mountain feeling like we’re in control when really it’s Rainier that is in control.
I think that Rainier is a very tangible reminder that control is an illusion. For the most part, we all go about life feeling like we’re in charge. To some extent this is true because we do have the freedom to decide where we go and what we do, but the fact remains that no matter how hard we try we cannot guarantee the outcome of any situation. I can’t even guarantee that I’ll finish writing this blog post (for all I know a solar flare could wipe out the earth before I have a chance to hit the publish button). Control is an illusion. This realization could easily dishearten us but I actually think it’s an invitation to humility. Given that the universe doesn’t bend to my will, I’m pretty sure that life can’t possibly be about me.
The illusion of control is probably most evident in our relationships. No matter how hard we try to love people, our relationships are at the mercy of the people trying to love us. No matter how well we love people, we simply can’t be in relationship with people who choose not to love us back. Control is an illusion.
Rainier and relationships show me that life is not so much about me as it is about the way I choose to interact with the people and world around me. Though I may be at the mercy of forces outside myself, I can still choose to be the merficul force on the outside of someone else’s life.