From Dr. Jane's Notebook

Just When I Thought I Was In Control

Several times during the past month, I thought I had settled on a topic for this article. I usually like to write about some distinctive issue of the month. But this month, life continued to outdo itself, presenting me with more topics than I could keep up with. For if ever there was a month of changes, this was it. If ever there was a month that reminded me of reality, mortality, and vulnerability, this was it.

Usually, it's easy to take things for granted. We assume the sun will rise, the moon will shine, and that our friends will be there tomorrow. We foster the illusion that we are in control, that we can govern our lives, and that we know what's best based on our value system. But this past month reminded me that life is not so predictable, controllable or fair.

This was a month of illness and health, birth and death, loss and gain, joy and pain. I saw love and hate, fear and comfort, growth and cessation of growth. I saw young people learn painful lessons about life. Things happened out of the natural order. Teenagers died and elderly, infirmed people lingered wishing for death. Even the power of instincts and morality were unable to change decisions of fate. Through all this chaos, I was reminded of priorities.

In my search for order, the work of Stephen Covey presented itself. In his "First Things First" tape series, Covey suggests that there are four human needs. They are (1) to live, (2) to love, (3) to learn, and (4) to leave a legacy. Here are a few thoughts on the matter.

Sometimes it is necessary to reflect on the big picture of our lives. When changes come rapidly, we need to hold on tight and be careful in our choices. In short, we must rely upon ourselves to do the right thing. Getting to know ourselves is a process which unfolds throughout life.

ęCopyright, 1997, 1999, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.

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Last Updated February 27, 1999 by Gary M. Grandon, Ph.D.