Friday, December 29, 2006

Anticipating the Worst

I've done a couple of posts about anticipation - and how much I enjoy the positive anticipation of an upcoming activity - almost to the point of enjoying it more than the event itself. Because, of course, the event never matches the realms of our imagination or expectation, or if it does, it doesn't last.

However, due to a couple of situations I've either witnessed recently or read about in other people's blog's (a woman who's son was nearly killed in an auto accident, a woman our age battling a rare form of cancer) - It's had me pondering the other side of anticipation - the fear of what could happen. Is that the definition of fear or worry? I'm not sure, but I suppose it's the flip side of what I described in the above paragraph.

I know it's been a random question posed to most of us - "If you were going to die [or someone close to you], would you want to know ahead of time (so you could prepare) or not know?" I'm the "I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW" sort of person. I'm confident my mind would create so much more pain in preparation of the event that I would completely lose out on any of the positives I could create in knowing. I am, by nature, a worrier. I do not get depressed very easily but I have struggled (particularly in the past) with anxiety. I am skilled in creating scenarios in my mind of what-ifs that can get really bad..... However, I am actually quite good at dealing with emergencies. I have yet to have a major tragedy befall my family, but we've certainly had our share of near-tragedies. In each of them, as awful as they were, I felt like all I could do was rest in the Lord's hands - it was out of my control, I prayed, cried, begged and saw prayers answered "yes", and some not - and knew that God was in control.

And, therein lies, to me, the big difference - when I anticipate a tragedy, I don't and won't give it over to the Lord. My mind takes it, grabs hold, and works out every awful possibility to the fullest extent. For anyone who's ever been there - it's a debilitating feeling, and I can only guess the victory Satan must feel when we go down this road. Oh, the satisfaction he feels - us, crippling ourselves and rendering ourselves unable to even think straight.

Michele has an awesome quote from a courageous, wonderful author that she developed an email relationship with after reading one of her books. The woman had a resume of tragedy - numerous cancer battles, miscarriages, family sorrows, etc - and yet, her perspective was glorious - (if it weren't so late, I'd call Michele for the quote, but I'm hoping she'll read this and comment to provide it )- All's to say, is that this woman knew that God doesn't meet us in our worries of what could happen, he meets us where we are, in the present. In the present, this woman is now in the presence of the Lord, she passed away several years ago, but her story and words have stuck with me.

Some of my own inspiration in writing this is very benign. Upcoming is my least favorite season - little to look forward to in the next couple of months besides rain. And, this very attitude creates such a dread for me that it can actually cut into my holiday celebrations in worrying about how I'll worry about it! Stupid, huh? So, I'm writing this partly for my own sake - God will meet me day by day, in a deluge or rain, or in the brightness of summer sunshine, He'll be there. I need not worry or fret - tomorrow will take care of itself.......

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself, each day has enough trouble of its own" Matthew 6:34


HollieHobbie said...

I am sooo looking forward to this season, Steph! I have my calendar written out, so I can keep Em's activities straight. She has a few weeks of a pretty busy schedule, plus, I may take a personal enrichment course of (and this can get anyone through the gloom days) wine tasting. Plus, we are going to resurrect the Friday family game night complete with homemade pizza and a movie. That will be something fun to look forward to each week.
Soooo maybe planning your weekends of fun and coziness with, like, pitching a tent in the living room and having a family camp night or finding a new breakfast place each Saturday morning or something else cozy. You are sooo good at bringing the cozy in that I am surprised you don't take this opportunity to build fires, read magazines, do something that you've always wanted to take up. Maybe I have so many projects and disorganization going on that this "down time" is something I really look forward to to reconnect with my family, my spouse and myself.
Email me anytime to complain or whatever. I am thinking about ya!

StephieAnne said...

Thanks Hollie - I didn't mean to make it sound THAT bad, but your ideas are certainly inspiring. Mostly, it's just not as much fun as the rest of the year - and a big part of that has to do solely with the rain and weather. Great ideas!!!!

chele said...

Patty Metzer was the author's name. I believe that she wrote a few books that were published around about the year 2000. I had read that she was a breast cancer survivor and because I loved her books so much, I felt led to an email correspondence. I remember being so naive at the time - finding such a wealth of wisdom in this middle aged woman who had overcome such hardship - where in my life, at that time, life was rolling very, very smoothly. I was bold in my exchanges with her - and she welcomed it - asking questions like "how do you prepare yourself for such a time of grief?" Her response (and the quote Steph was looking for) was something like "I choose to live my life constantly surrounded by the arms of Jesus so that when tragedy hits I am already experiencing His peace and not needing to seek Him out for each occasion." Her version was much more eloquent - but you get the picture. She passed away a few years later from bone cancer... with three teenagers and a husband surviving her. Beyond that quote, what I also gathered from my exchange with her was that just as God's grace is sufficient - so is His peace and mercy... What might seem an unfathonable obstacle in anticipation becomes an experience of faith and growth during the actual struggle...
Great ideas Hollie - especially the family night. We have so many board games now - and with two out of our three kids that can now easily participate, there is no excuse for not bonding in such a fun way...
Happy New Year!