Automatic life

I went into a public restroom this morning and used the faucet at the sink that had one of those automatic shut offs. You press the button and hot or cold water come out and yet it turns off by itself automatically. I have to confess. I stood there till it shut off. I don’t know if that means I didn’t believe it would actually work, showing a healthy mistrust of the mechanical world or if I am just plain paranoid. And what if it didn’t work. So what? Eventually, some employee would notice, wouldn’t they? Is it really my responsibility? Well is it? (Note the slight raise in my voice and the edge of anxiety… I think I need help!)

I do the same thing with other “automatics” such as my car lights. They are supposed to shut off automatically but invariably I will stand there and watch and wait. And don’t get me started on our iron at home. I have had tremendous dreams of irons somehow tipping over by a wandering rodent, setting the house on fire. I mean if a cow could cause the great Chicago fire, is my preoccupation so unreasonable. The automatic shut off feature on the iron could fail after all … right?

I could elaborate about other “automatics” but I really don’t want people to think I am weird. OK, maybe it’s too late for that but at least I don’t want you to think I am totally “out to lunch” by mentioning my occasional phobia concerning thermostats, automatic sliding doors, oven shutoffs, timers, garage door openers and more. What is it with me and automatics? Maybe part of it is the fact that automatic things by definition are working on their own with little or no direct human control. I personally like to be in control.

But, then I have to remind myself of a simple fact. So much of my life is out of my control. I can’t even control my breathing, my blood pumping, my heart beating. I can hold my breath for a little while or I could stop my heart beating permanently (and painfully) but I really am not in control. Those are automatic functions. Here we go again. One more time, I am reminded that I have to relinquish control of my life to someone outside myself. The spirit of God wants to function automatically in my life. But, I have to let go. Tough! But, I will take another step today. Maybe, I will start by automatically putting food in my tummy! I like that idea!!

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