Last week Joyce and I had exceptional visits in California with her brother and sister-in-law and with our daughter and son-in-law. It was a week of rich joys and memorable blessings. Everything went exceptionally well--the visit could not have been smoother or more convenient. Each day had unplanned "special moments."

The day of return began in the same manner--convenient, smooth. Then came the unexpected "beyond our control." As we approached the Dallas/Fort Worth airport, it experienced a microburst. This severe, local thunderstorm and its dangerous sheer winds forced the airport to close. All air traffic was diverted to other airports for fuel.

The thunderstorm was one of those "beyond our control" matters. With falling domino effect, it set in motion over fourteen hours of "beyond our control" matters: an unscheduled trip to Oklahoma City for fuel (with long delay); the return to Dallas/Fort Worth with a mechanical malfunction that resulted in an "interesting" landing (another long delay); hundreds of people who had missed their flights; over four hours of standing in lines to change tickets, and two hours sleep on the terminal floor.

Joyce and I had absolutely no control over any of those matters. In fact, from the moment we boarded the plane in San Francisco, all such matters were quite literally in control of us.

When such occasions occur, a person can react in numerous ways to give "beyond control" matters even greater control: be angry; be verbally abusive; feel sorry for yourself; get upset at someone (anyone handy!) for ruining a wonderful moment; be outraged at the inconvenience; allow your "self-importance" to be indignant; protest life's unfairness as "everything" conspires against you.

If we react to "beyond our control" matters in such ways, we surrender the only things that are always in our control. What possibly always can be in our control? Attitude, perspective, awareness of recent and immediate blessings, kindness, and consideration for others.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 25 May 1997

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