In or Out of Control

It’s nice to be in control. To be in charge of how something and when something is going to happen. To be able to decide what you want to do and just do it.

We all have some amount of “control” within our lives. We can control what our mood or attitude will be for the day. We can control where want to go and how we want to get there. We can control what food we want to eat and how much exercise we get. Yet, there are some things we can’t control no matter how hard we wish we could. I mean, how great would if be if you could control the weather. I could sure go for some springtime temperatures right about now…

I took this last April, it was so much warmer then...

I took this last April, it was so much warmer then…

.I think it’s really easy to live life and fall into a false sense of security, thinking you have more control over everything than you actually do. It’s easy to live in a land of complacency, thinking nothing strange or out of the ordinary is ever going to happen because you have everything under control.

I’ll admit it, that was me. I was satisfied with where I was at in life. I had worked hard and where I was at proved it. I had everything under control.

Graduating and ready to take the world by storm...

Graduating and ready to take the world I had under control by storm…

I guess you could say it hit me pretty hard one day that that wasn’t exactly the case. Now, I have daily reminders of how much I’m not in control.

Many people don’t realize this, but someone with a spinal cord injury can experience spasms in the portion of their body that’s paralyzed. I lovingly refer to these little gems as twitches because I think it sounds less terrifying. Why do they happen? I’ll try to break it down…Normally neurological messages easily flow from the brain to the rest of the body, but post injury, that flow is disrupted and the spinal cord tries to make up for it. Sadly, the spinal cord isn’t as efficient as the brain and the movements are exaggerated. For me, I get some pretty legit spasms in my legs where they literally kick straight out in front of me. No worries, they don’t happen all the time, but instead at the least opportune time, like when I’m transferring. I always appreciate that a lot. Ha,  yea right.

I don’t think I could ever explain what it’s like to not have control over muscles in your own body. I don’t even have words to try and explain what it’s like to see my leg kicked out in front of me, sometimes bashing my toe into the wall or scraping my foot against something and I can’t do anything about it. I can’t capture the frustration I feel when I want my leg to go one place and it has every muscle fiber strongly engaged to go elsewhere. It’s a huge pain and it sucks, a lot.

You know, there are things in our lives we can’t control, like what other people say about us or what our future actually holds or my stupid leg muscles. But just because we aren’t “in control” doesn’t make those things bad.

As big of a pain as spasms are, they have their benefits. They cause contractions that are great for circulation in my immobile legs. Those same contractions are also good for my muscles, to simply allow them to move and be strong instead of waste away.

It’s all about how you look at things.
It’s all about what you decide to make of a situation.
That IS something you can control.

4 thoughts on “In or Out of Control

  1. Jeanne LaMoore says:

    Thanks for this excellent reminder / lesson, Sam. I struggle with my attitude a lot, knowing that I can choose to respond differently to frustrations, but often falling back on some negative habits. I still wish the accident had never happened, but I am continually amazed and rejoicing at who you are and how you are handling so many challenges. Thank you for sharing your triumphs and frustrations with a wider audience. You are a wonderful teacher.

  2. Kelly Emerine says:

    I enjoyed hearing about your ‘involuntary exercise’. Learning to give up control has made me a happier person.

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