I worry. I mean, I worry a lot.
As a Christian, I know some consider that a sin. It shows my hubris, that I don’t trust God. That I don't have faith in the path He has chosen for me. That as a Child of God, I should know that I'm taken care of...
And yet I still worry. At times in my life this worry, frankly, it has paralyzed me, it has made me unable to trust others, it has prevented me from being the best wife, mother, daughter and friend.
I have shared the depths of my worry with a very select few. Others have seen the cracks in my armor over the years. When my sweet prince licked more than he painted with the Thomas the Train paints at two, (for which I was sure was toxic) my dearest friend said in jest, “child protective services is going to call!” She of course was the sane one, knowing the paint wasn't toxic. But I began to cry, sob even, as paint was on Ian’s face and she was standing next to me in total shock. Shock because what had occurred was really a Kodak moment not a crisis. But, it had brought out my big fear: I'm a lousy mother, someone is going to figure-out that I’m not qualified and take my children away.
Another time when Jeff was late coming home, stuck in traffic and I was sure that he was in an accident. My sheer rage at his late arrival was only to mask my crippling fear. The fear that he would die or leave me.
My anxiety comes from my lack of trust, my inability to see the final cut of the movie of this life. To truly believe that as the credits roll, I will be happy with the finished product. I want total control as the director, executive producer and starring actor. Don't we all?
I worry about abandonment. About being left behind. I worry about Jeffrey. My biggest fear is being on this planet without him. The thought of not having Jeffrey to cradle my fall cripples me. To feel his love, to show him in my word, actions and deed the depth of my love for him.
When we had been married for 7 years we had a tough patch. At that moment it was because of my fear. I was too focused on being brave and fearless. I thought being independent was more important than being committed. Because commitment meant that I would have to live with the fear of being left behind. Abandoned by the person I had let-in. That this man, that I loved more than anyone; who knows me better than even I know myself, might leave me, as my Dad had done as a child to me. I needed to brace myself, so I would never feel that pain. I would be “smart enough” to protect myself. It was big and personal, and it was my fears espoused, for all to see. But, I got past it. My stalwart husband, sat with me and a very wise therapist, and taught me how to talk about my fears. Jeffrey and I have been doing that ever since. Making space for me to run my list of the things that scare me. My worries.
It is at those moments, when life is hard, that I remember the most important part of the Sacrament of Marriage. It is not just Jeffrey and I in this marriage. Nope. The Spirit of God is in this marriage too. So even in the darkest moments, God is present. It is the work of the Spirit that often is the most amazing.
I recall walking with a good friend (who happens to be a priest) at the time of this rough patch who said something that I treasure. He said, ”Do you know what is special about you and Jeff?, I see the Holy Spirit in your marriage and it’s beautiful.”
That was the Holy Spirit working. The right words, from the perfect person, at the right time. No coincidence, people. Think about that. When has that happened for you?
I feel like the story of Jacob of the Old Testament who wrestled with God. My wrestling would occur in a bar, and frankly it would be over cocktails and I would be just a wee bit belligerent. Ok, it would be horrible. But see, I know God can take it. Just like when my Beauties yell at me and say, “YOU are the WORST Mom in the world” or when it’s the doozy of my personal favorite, “I HATE YOU!,” which always comes with a stomp or demand of some kind. All of this for saying NO, to Wii before homework or because you rode your bikes on a busy street.
My response is the same: “First, I love you.” Then at some point this little gem rolls out in one form or another, “You are welcome to hate me, because I know it’s not true. Please know that I prayed for you. Your Dad and I planned for you, and we will always love you. So, I’m good. You stay mad. I’m confident enough to take your rage, frustration and utter disappointment at the miserableness of your present circumstances. Please know that God gave you to US to keep you healthy, safe and strong. We will get through this. But right now you need to go to your room and pull it together.”
Jeff and I have said that little litany so often that now just saying the “I love you” gets the stomp off to the bedroom.
I feel confident that God must think the same about me... When my anxiety gets too high it’s like me slamming my bedroom door, just pissed at the lack of control I have. But, always realizing, just like me, and the children, God is in all of this.
It is so much easier as a parent when the beauties just listen and trust me. I'm sure God feels the same about me, “Kathryn my sweet one, I made you, I love you, I've got this... Let me take care of you, my child.”
So, I get up and keep trying, trying to keep my door, my windows, the closet door, and most of all my heart open, so God doesn't have to wait so patiently for me to make a little room for HIM.
Goodness knows, I need to trust just a little bit more.
And worry a little less...
Peace be with you,