I read an interesting quote today that I had somehow overlooked from years ago. In Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil that I had originally read while traveling up to New Jersey a few summer ago, Du Bois makes a powerful statement. After reflecting on recent challenges in his life, he says,
I was ready to admit that the best of men might fail. I meant still to be the captain of my soul, but I realized that even captains are not omnipotent in unchartered and angry seas. 
This statement, first penned in the early 20th century rung especially true to me. It’s not hard to admit that I enjoy being in control. I’m one of those “If you want something done right, do it yourself” kind of people. This manifests in personal and vocational relationships, academic endeavors, extracurricular activities, and other areas of my life. The problem comes in when this DIY mindset infiltrates my spiritual life. I am tempted to believe that I can control God and I have the audacity to believe that I am in ultimate control of my life; however, every now and then life will throw something at me almost as a reminder that ultimately I am not in control.
After finally getting the opportunity to go on a hospital visit as a part of my Clinical Pastoral Education, my proclivity to control went into overdrive. On the way over to the hospital I scripted out the whole conversation. ”I’ll start by saying this…” then “I’ll pause here…” then “we won’t say anything here, it’ll be the ministry of presence.” With this script in my Pastoral Care toolbox, I sauntered confidently into Grady Memorial Hospital and arrived at the correct room. I walked in the room and said “Hi Nate, my name is Marcus Halley from the Church of the Common Ground. Pastor Mary sent me down here to talk to you.” The patient and I struck up a wonderful conversation. The surprise came a few moments later when I found out that I had been talking to the wrong person. He wasn’t Nate. Nate was behind the curtain. I was embarrassed to say the least; however, even in all of my embarrassment the Holy Spirit was still speaking, “Remember, you can’t control everything.”
I am reminded of a statement from Howard Thurman’s The Creative Encounter. Thurman writes, “The surrender of the self at its center gives to the life a new basis for action. It provides an integrated basis for action. Here at last the individual has a core of purpose for his life and for his living.”  Learning that we we don’t have ultimate control of our lives, that somehow we are a part of something grander, is both humbling and comforting. Humbling in that we realize that every now and then we must take our hands off the controls and allow God to do the driving. Comforting in that we realize that God has a far better vision of where we are going.
The Word of Marcus…
 W.E.B. DuBois. Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil (New York: Schocken Books, 1969), 20.
 Howard Thurman. The Creative Encounter (Richmond, IN: Friends United Press, 1972), 72-73.