Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Out of My Control

I just finished the last niggling issue with the copyedits for The War I Finally Won. I'll see the story again once it's been typeset, but at that point we'll pretty much only be checking for typos. We actually expect ARCs by the end of the week. (I plan on doing a contest or two with the ARCs, for fun. More on that later.) This is the start of a really never-wracking time for me: the book is now out of my control.

I've been grappling with the realization that I am not quite 100% over my concussion, though I edge closer all the time. This frustrates me, because once I'm symptom free I can start the clock toward riding again--three months after being symptom free is what's recommended by my sport's governing agency. I hate that my recovery is not within my control.

Then I read Amy Krouse Rosenthal's heartbreaking essay, "You May Want to Marry My Husband." (It's all over the internet; you can find it if you want to.) I don't know Amy personally, but I know her work--she's a children's book author. Her children, like mine, have all recently left home; she and her husband, like me and mine, were looking forward to travel and adventure. Instead Amy's dying of ovarian cancer. It's outside her control, as is one of my close friend's serious illnesses, as is nearly everything about my now adult children (when they were tiny I controlled so much of their lives: what they ate, what they wore, where they went and with whom. I couldn't control whether or not they napped but I could certainly shut them into their bedrooms.).

It's Lent, a time to increase self-awareness. On Sunday a visiting priest at our parish (Bristol folks: I attended at my other parish, near our house in North Carolina. I am not making stuff up.) preached a sermon about Jesus' temptation in the desert, and about idolatry. I've been thinking ever since about the idolatry of control. How trusting in God's care means letting go of striving to be God yourself, able to fix everything. I go back to a lesser-known line from Lin Miranda's spectacular Tony Awards sonnet: "and nothing else is promised, not one day." This is crummy but it's also liberating.

Meanwhile, this week fell spectacularly out of my control, for good reasons, when my daughter qualified for the NCAA Regional championships in fencing. Those are this Saturday, the second weekend of my daughter's spring break, and we'd made lots of plans for break that had to be really quickly modified. She heads back to school tomorrow for some more training, and Saturday my husband and son and I are all going to watch her poke people with the sharp end of a stick. It'll be awesome.