I have always thought of the term “to white knuckle” something came from football. You know, right before the ball is thrown all the players are down on the ground leaning on their knuckles, rendering them white with the overflow of stress and anticipation for the play coming up. I love football memoirs and movies but I don’t much like football as a sport. It’s a game for the tough but I also think it should be considered a game for the strategic. Aren’t they strategically trying to get the ball into the end zone only knowing the circumstances for each move in the moment? This is a conversation I have had many times with my husband and each time I proceed to lose. He says its a game of strength and hitting. So rather than arguing with a huge sports fans, I choose to see this as a metaphor for life.
I used to think that I could make a strategic long-term plan and that life was strategic. I had my life planned out. Get married, have kids, be happy, upper-middle-class servants in my community. It was a pretty simple plan actually. Except, life happened, and it became my own personal game for being tough and taking hits. In my 20’s, every day was a white knuckler. My friendships were hard, my job was browbeating, my marriage didn’t last. I was waking up every day sticking square pegs in round holes. Now granted – I could fight the fight and get square pegs to fit in round holes – but quite honestly it sucked. And that was just the beginning of years that sucked. No change of job, new husband, or friends fixed the white-knuckle days. My toughness grew weary and my strategies failed.
Sort of depressing right? Enter faith! I was pretty quiet about this in my life. Partly because I had none but what was growing inside of me was certainly helping me release things I couldn’t control. So I decided to get Baptized. Even that I asked the minister to do in private. No such luck. Not only did I get Baptized in my 30s in front of the whole church the minister asked that I would speak as to why I wanted to be Baptized.
You have heard it – Let go and let God! Well, one day – tired, alone (although married), and depleted, I did and He DID. But the thing is I couldn’t do it only one day, because letting go felt awesome! Giving up lists of things that plagued my thoughts was mind-blowingly liberating! Now, I strive for letting go every day and fail some days. But if I don’t strive the white knuckles creep back into my life. So today, when it is raining and the tension is creeping back up into my shoulders, my jaw is clenched and my hands are tightening I have to remember my strategic long-term plan is in the hands of a power much greater than me. So I am reminded to get this day to its end zone concentrating on the circumstances today brings. And I try, even though I also fail at this, to be ok with not knowing or being in charge of my own long-term plan.