We have control; we do not.
On 12 November 2014, ESA’s Rosetta mission — which was launched all the way back in 2004 — soft-landed its Philae probe on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It is the first time in history that such an extraordinary feat has been achieved.
The images and information Rosetta is producing — stunning!
Such control — the math, the calculations concerning speed, distance, gravity, the guiding of the craft for ten years, the landing on a comet traveling up to 135,000 kilometres per hour — extraordinary!
And equally extraordinary — all the things we can’t control — this comet’s destiny, or our own emotions, our family members’ choices, disease, the economy, death.
What to do?
I’m stuck lately with the need to apply wisdom to control.
I’m currently thinking: Control what you can; ride out what you can’t.
It’s common sense, but the trick involves discerning when to push or pull and when to ride the wind, wave or fastly flying comet.
I can’t control the interest rate on mortgages and credit cards; I can control my spending. I can’t control other people’s lack of integrity; I can control my own. I can’t control other people’s thoughts or behaviors; I can control my reactions to them. I can’t control God: I can love him and ask him to guide me. I can jump on and ride the fast, joyful, flying comet of what he is doing.
We have not taken control of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by finding it, naming it, and landing on it, but we have taken a giant first step — once thought impossible — toward understanding it and perhaps understanding something about our origins as well. And we have exhibited our vast and amazing power to exercise control.
So, here is the deal the best I can see it.
Calculate life, fly Rosetta missions of your own, ride comets, decipher the past, take charge of stuff, especially yourself — and stay humble.
Sometimes you are in the saddle and have the reins, and sometimes you are just along for the terrifying, joyful, fateful ride!