Henry realized that he had not been in control all these years as he thought, he was just playing roles, wasting his life seeking approval.
The game of tug-o-war was over, he was not going to pick up the rope and get dragged through the mud. Henry dropped the rope that bound him to be obligated to caring for others. He set himself free.
As soon as he did, his perspective changed. Performing this task requires a choice. If we don’t make choices for our own happiness, who will? Many people are not used to making choices because they do not trust their own judgment (it is not good enough). They feel obligated to depend on the “superior” judgment of others. The necessity of making choices on our own behalf is an act of control. This is not merely reacting anymore, this is initiating an action. That can be a risk for some. What if we make a mistake? That’s where courage comes in.
Courage is the willingness to take a risk by doing what is hard and doing it anyways. This includes the risk of making a mistake. Making a choice for ourselves for the first time is hard and that is why it is a success, regardless of the outcome.
Henry chose to fly home for a few days to check in on his mother and then come back to be with his father for perhaps the last time. He wasn’t required to predict (control) the time of his father’s demise perfectly. He would not be worthless if he failed to see him again. He would be worthwhile in spite of it. It was a risk that he wished he didn’t have to take. But he was doing what he wanted.
It was an expensive proposition, but he deserved to spend the money on himself, no more and no less than anyone else did. It was not a matter of right or wrong. There was no one right solution, only imperfect ones. Henry stopped focusing on trying to prevent or control others and started concentrating on himself. He felt liberated from a lifetime of have-to’s, musts and shoulds.
Henry was not guilty. He was not innocent. He was an equal. He was living in the present. Henry’s rumination about perfection, preventing disasters, and guilt were diminished. He was too busy living his life in the real world to obsess. That is success. That is control.