My father and I went to make arrangements for my mother's funeral last December. One of the stories I find myself telling is that my father wrote a check as a deposit on that day. Then, on the night of Mom's wake, one of the first things Dad did was to seek out the business office so that he could write a second check for the balance of the funeral expenses. When this happened, I was somewhat mystified about why Dad was doing what he was doing. It wasn't until I was telling this story to my co-worker, Matthew, and hearing his perspective did it make any sense. Matthew's perspective was that Dad was trying to control what he could control. What I find myself saying is that Dad couldn't control that he was at the funeral home and that his wife of 50+ years had passed away, but he could control that he had an outstanding balance on his bill and he could control when and how it was to be paid. In a strange way, the actions of Dad and Matthew's interpretation of the situation has become tenets, or guiding principles, for how I've been trying to live my life since Mom died. I am trying my best to focus on what I can control and to let go of the things in life that I cannot control. For example, I can control my reaction to other people's words and deeds. I cannot control the weather or how long I am going to live. Sure, I can do some things to assist me in living longer. I am unlikely to douse myself with gasoline and run around with matches today - I can control that. I cannot control if a car is going to strike me down as I cross a street or if a bolt of lightning is going to core my body.
That all said, I find myself somewhat divided about how to deal with Planned Parenthood. On one hand, from reading this article and this article, it seems that life is not being considered to be precious. I've read a list of businesses, including Pepsi and Coca-Cola, that are in some way tied to Planned Parenthood and, in the same article, it suggested that I not patronize those businesses. Well, I just drank two 20 oz Mountain Dew Live Wire bottles and yes, Pepsi bottles Mountain Dew. Perhaps the obvious choice is to simply stop drinking Mountain Dew because my consumption in some minor way impacts the ability of Planned Parenthood to perform their services. But it's really difficult to fathom my world without Mountain Dew. Or a Coke, like I had at Tony Roma's (a restaurant in Dubuque) last night with my cheeseburger. My challenge for today is to find a way to be stronger and to take personal responsibility for my actions and how those actions impact the causes I believe in.