An odd thing happened last week...I got completely beside myself! Completely! My sister-in-law, Lyn, was having open heart surgery. It was something we have known was going to have to occur, replacing a heart valve that had quit doing its job. Her life was at risk if she DIDN'T have the surgery. And so it was scheduled for last Wednesday, then postponed a day to Thursday.
Wednesday was ok...updates from family held any fear at bay. Thursday morning began began with a text to her very early, expressing my love and prayers. Up until this point, everything had been about HER...her fear, her discomfort, her dread. And then it happened!
Suddenly, around 10am, it became about ME! Why weren't the family members texting? Shouldn't she be at the halfway point...had the nurses phoned the waiting room? Was there trouble? What would happen if we lost her? Her daughter is pregnant. What if her new grandson never gets to know her? What if she never gets to hold him? What would it do to Lyn's mother to lose her daughter? Lyn's husband adores her. What if he lost her?
The more I indulged in these thoughts, the more beside myself I became! My heart beat faster. I couldn't breathe. So I took a walk: it only served to magnify the thoughts in my head! I watched TV, which only reminded me that people die from all kinds of things: tornados, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, heart valve surgeries...ok, that last part wasn't on TV, but it was front and center in my conscious! Then I turned to comfort food. But there was no comfort there. Now I was filled up to the brim with Cinnamon-Sugar Pita Chips, on top of my stomach full of Panic!
At this point, I am supposed to say that I received some illumination from the Holy Spirit, which whisked away my anxiety. That did not happen. I wanted it to, but it didn't. Instead, my heart pounded out of my chest, as I prepared for the worst. I just could not find the shadow under His wing. I searched for it, but I could not find it. I could not see Him on his Holy Hill.
What dissipated my anxiety? She came out of surgery ok.
Ewwwwww. Score one for Team Panic! At other times, I would have followed Panic's victory by visiting Shame and Defeat. And I probably would have taken Pitiful with me for company!
This time, I saw this situation for what it was...a wake up call that I was holding on too tight to my family and friends, as if I could do anything to add one hair to their heads! I was focused on ME, how I was feeling, what I was thinking, what I needed to do to calm down. So, not only is fear an absence of Faith; it is also the prevalence of hubris and selfishness. God alone knows His Perfect Will.
"God, Your Will is hard, but You hold EVERY card...."