Imagining our control

As I lay in the ambulance, a vessel in my brain was leaking blood into my skull. My capacity to think, to be conscious was diminishing. My ability to direct anything at all would soon stop.

From a position of agency — as entrepreneur, father, athlete — I was moved to a position of utter dependence. From a preoccupation with planning for the future, I was moved to the terrible present.

What moved, exactly, I ask myself looking back from the other side?

Now it seems nothing changed about my circumstances more than my regard for them. It may be that as we mistakenly live in hope, so also are we mistaken in imagining our control.

A brain, bleeding slowly enough, focuses the mind before disabling it. What I took for granted of my children as infants is also true for my adult self: we are fragile, brief, and dependent.

You may want to qualify that conclusion. I still do. As I regain ability and capacity since my experience, I want to qualify it as I did before: If I do…. If I have…. Then I’ll triumph.

But nonetheless, we are fragile, brief, and dependent. So what to do with this conclusion?

If you felt dependent upon others, how might you work with them?

If you felt the brevity of life, what work might you do rather than defer?

And given our fragility, to what end, for whose agenda, are you working?

Imagining our control