Sunday, January 9, 2011

Control Freak

I have been celebrating how far I have come to let go of many of my control freak tendencies, but when they come back in force and I have to deal with them, it's always a little like a slap in the face. I was worried about Jason's safety when he flew home from Las Vegas on Friday night. A storm was developing which walloped us on Saturday and today with high winds, white-out driving conditions, and lots of snow. I have become a nervous flier after a turbulent flight to Edmonton many years ago, and I couldn't shake a feeling that something bad was going to happen on Friday night.

His flight was delayed, and while he was in the air, heavy fog began to gather outside. If he had landed on time, he would've missed the fog, and I wondered what was going on up in the skies. I felt a rush of relief and gratitude when he texted to say he had landed safely and was heading to his car. The snow didn't come until later, so he made it home without incident.

I felt a little silly after my freak-out, but our emotions are strange things. They trick our minds into worrying when we don't necessarily have cause to fear, but emotions aren't rational and can't be treated as though they are. They come on quickly, and we must walk through them to the other side where we can see clearly again, and understand rationally what is really going on. Fear and worry gets in the way of that.

When we all went to bed on Friday night, I felt so grateful for our safety as a family with a storm approaching. We woke up on Saturday and watched the weather develop into the blizzard that had been predicted, and we stayed warm and cozy together, with nowhere pressing to go. It was a wonderful feeling, and I soaked it up like a sponge.

In the afternoon, Jason ran to our local grocery store to get a few things to make pizza for supper. When he came home, he brought a movie by the Coen brothers, A Serious Man, which received lots of Oscar buzz last year but was a film I had zero desire to see. I wasn't very kind about the movie, having asked him to find a comedy for us to watch.

He made pizza, which was delicious as always, and for dessert he made baked apples. I've had these before and wasn't a fan of the mushy texture, and for some unknown reason, I decided to make my opinions on this subject well known around the dinner table. Of course, the kids rode high on my bad attitude and Jason's dessert was ruined by our negativity. He was not impressed with me, and rightly so. If he had been as critical of my movie choice or cooking, I would have been furious.

I took a few minutes to think about it, and realized that it goes back to my preference to be in control. I like to pick the movies, and I like to have meals tailored to my preference. But I am not the only person in this family, or in the world. Jason likes baked apples, and since he was making them, that should have been enough for me.

I apologized, and we were able to enjoy the rest of our evening together. (We only made it through thirty minutes of the movie, then gave up and watched Conan on the PVR, so we ended up with comedy after all). It is surprising to me how fast our moods and feelings can change. In a matter of hours, I swung from unbelievably grateful for Jason's safety to nitpicking about small things and being downright rude to him. This is how human nature works. Thankfully, we have apologies and forgiveness to sew up these wounds we incur in our relationships.

I used to expect perfection from myself, and I don't anymore. I mess up, the same if not more than everyone else, and when I am unkind I can look at the root cause (in this case, my desire to tailor a situation to my needs instead of someone else's) and say sorry when I am hurtful to someone else. It was a good lesson I learned. Perfection is not required, but humility goes a long way to fix something we have damaged unconsciously with our imperfect actions.

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