I know it is useful and that my life probably depends upon it, but at the best of times, technology is not my favourite thing in the world.

I do not find my way easily in the virtual world. Megabytes, gigabytes, streaming, social networking, downloading, uploading… all cause my brain to wobble. I feel uncertain in this strange alternate world of technological cyber-connection.

So, it comes as a bit of an assault, as I struggle to keep my ground in the rapidly growing necessity for functioning online, to have our internet suddenly only sporadically working.

After spending an hour on hold and then two hours talking to a nice young man in Montreal trying to fix the problem, he concluded that he would have to send us a new modem for our home. This of course will take three business days, putting delivery at best into late this week, if CanadaPost is even delivering by then. So, in the meantime, we muddle along with a faltering internet connection, constantly kicked off the web and never able to run more than one device at a time in the house.

In so many ways, I am deeply aware that I am not in control.

Being out of control is not an experience with which most of us sit particularly comfortably. But it is the reality of the human condition. It does not matter how healthy we are at the moment, how tech-savvy we may be, how much money we have in the bank, or how educated or powerful we are. There are always forces out there that have the capacity to knock us off balance. Circumstances can arise in a moment that bring us face to face with the limitations of human power.

It may not be as huge or as world shattering as COVID-19, but it usually doesn’t take much to cause most of us to come face to face with our innate insecurity and sense of being powerless. Life is uncertain and at times feels deeply threatening. I can try to escape this reality, repress my feelings, or escape into some appealing diversion. But I cannot change the fact that, on the physical, time-bound, material, horizontal realm of circumstance, I am vulnerable.

In the face of forces over which I have no control, I try to do two things.

I try to see reality. I seek to acknowledge the limitations of my ability to be in charge of the universe. I know I am not the Master Commander I might like to be. I can rail against it all I want; I can resist it and determine to wrestle my circumstances under my control; but I cannot change the reality of forces over which I am powerless. I need to face this fact and learn to live with it.

Having faced the reality of my situation, I seek to just sit with my awkward uncomfortable feelings. I cannot at the moment change the situation; but I can change the way I respond. Yes, it is uncomfortable and at times frightening. But this moment can be endured. I do not need to flee. I do not need to fix it right now. Of course if the house is on fire I will do what I can to get out. But most of the situations that make me feel out of control are not of the-house-is-on-fire variety. I will always make better choices and decisions if I start by sitting in the midst of the awkwardness, holding the discomfort and resisting the urge to run or to lash out against the sense of threat.

Few difficult situations are improved by attack. Most circumstance will improve with a little time and space.