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On Masks and Control

If I had to choose one way to describe 2020, it would be "out of control." Because if there's something that reminds you that you have no control, it's a pandemic.


But if you truly want to feel out of control, you should start the adoption process DURING a pandemic. Oh, and then add in an election for good measure. Each thing has sent the sharp and sometimes startling reminder that there are so many things in life we can't control.


We can't control the virus that rages around us. We have watched it take loved ones from people we love. We have watched isolated people become more isolated as we all try to desperately figure out how to stay safe and keep others safe.


We have watched our country shattered around party lines, and have prayed for healing that we, again, can't control. We can only control our own words and actions, but even those feel at times out of control.


At first, I could trick myself into thinking the adoption was controllable. I could form checklists around the mounds of paperwork. But soon every item on the checklist was completed, and we settled into the unsettling season of waiting.


The virus shows no sign of slowing. The votes have all been cast. And the few baby items we've been gifted are hidden in the storeroom so I don't have to stare at them every day.


I'm not very good at waiting, you see. I'm good at preparing and checklists and deadlines. I'm not good at open-ended waiting.


This morning, as Mike and I were driving to church, I was rummaging around in the car for a mask. I opened up the console and nearly a dozen masks spilled out. And there, in a pile of fabric stained with my make-up, I had to face how I had been grasping for control.


Mike has joked with me about my obsession with masks. Old Navy ones and Target ones. Floral and polka-dotted. All different shapes and styles. But as I pulled one of my favorite ones out of the pile this morning (brown, floral, nose wire), I realized that I kept buying masks because it felt like the only thing I could control.


I kept reading news articles about politics because it was the only thing I could control.


I kept making lists about the adoption because it was the only thing I could control.


There is something to identifying the things that we can control in life. But it's not a pile of masks. And it's really not control.


I can do my best to protect others. I can love those who think differently than me. I can remind myself that in a season of waiting I can still learn and grow.




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