I get anxious fairly easily. In fact, it doesn’t take much to set me off down a spiral path of worrying about one thing or another, which usually leads to hyperventilating over absolutely nothing.
Last night, as I entered mass…my heart began to pound out of my chest. I couldn’t for the life of me tell you why, for I had no particular reason to be upset. I had just spent the day out of town at a farm…pretending to be a child amid the apples and pumpkins and petting zoo. I was content, at peace and ready for a very stressful week to begin. Yet, walking into the sanctuary, I felt a burden tug at my heart. I tried to ignore it. I tried to get lost in my surroundings. The music was so beautiful, and the church was warm and cozy. Normally, my sitting alone and with Christ would lead to a beautiful dialogue between my divine husband and I, but instead my mind raced away from His saving face. I sat down, and a thousand things hit me at once; exhaustion, rejection, the thought of my school work, the heartache I’ve shoved down for so long, the fear of not being liked by that new someone, the fear of not being good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, skinny enough, humble enough, talented enough, my shame for being so judgmental, my fear of being alone, my desire to be normal, my desire to be different, my fear of being different….
‘I’m such a mess.’ I thought ‘I’m such a selfish, spoiled sinner…I don’t deserve Your love or forgiveness. I don’t deserve the gifts that You have given me. I’m the worst kind of sinner. How am I suppose to make it into Your arms if I can’t even let down my pride long enough to trust in You?’
At one point in my life, when these moments of being emotionally overwhelmed would hit, I would sit in the desolation and become so lost in the agony of my thoughts that I would choose to forget the love of Christ. I wanted attention, I wanted someone to make me feel better in that instant. In my naïve mind, I would think, ‘If I look sad...if I seem distraught… someone will have to rescue me.’ And I would purposefully choose the desolation over Christ. But this only led to more anxiety, and worse, more selfishness. What I hoped to achieve in this state, what I wanted more than anything, during these moments, was for the room to fill with the weight of my anxiety. I wanted it to permeate the air and destroy the joy in my proximity. I wanted the people around me to sense I was broken, notice my lack of breathing, rush over to wipe my tears away, hold me, caress me, take care of me, reassure me...me, me, me!
But last night, mid-tears and racing heart— He pressured me to try a new tactic. I sat, in silence, with my eyes lowered, and calmly allowed the thoughts to come and go while the Lord spoke to my soul.
“You are not your emotions, Katherine.” He whispered into my ear, trying, as He so often does, to reassure me that everything would be okay.
“Trust in Me.” He repeated.
Trust in Him. It has been the theme of my life to learn to let go and trust in Him. The all-powerful, creator of the world…and yet, I have the hardest time giving my everything to Him.
Including my negativity.
One of my favorite Buddhist sayings is, ‘Let go; Attachment is suffering.’ For some reason these words repeated in my head as the mass continued on. So, I gave it to Him. A gift, in a way, to show my undying devotion to His most Sacred Heart.
He knows, all too well, how difficult it is for me to give my anxiety up to Him, but I did…because I wanted to be able to give Him something that was difficult to give, even if it had to be my tears.
And yet, I was pleasantly surprised. In the heat of this desperate cry for hope, I realized that while I thought I was giving the gift, it was truly Him that was sacrificing for me. Sitting in the presence of the Lord makes it very hard not to be aware of His undying devotion to His people. To me.
Because before my eyes flashed the multitudes of moments when humans let me down. But this time, instead of seeing myself in these images sitting alone…I could see Him beside me.
When I am most emotionally distraught, regardless of how ridiculous the circumstance, He simply attends to my needs without question. When I weep, He wraps His arms around me and promises His eternal love, while wiping away the tears. When I whine, He laughs at me. When I fall down, He runs to the rescue. When I bear my insecurities to Him, He finds little ways to make me smile.
…And when I wanted to leave mass yesterday, before having met Him at the altar in communion with the Eucharist, He kissed my forehead and blessed my mind’s eye with an image that He knew would wipe away my pain.
He humbly reminded me of the nails being driven into His hands. Not because He wanted me to feel bad about my emotional crisis. Not because He wanted me to repent for being self absorbed or selfish. Not because I was being dramatic. But because He wanted me to know that He had already had this anxiety attack with me… on the cross. He had already felt this pang of complete desolation, worry, fear, rejection, overwhelming lack of trust from me. He had already died and risen so that I could have this growing pain while in the midst of His flesh and blood.
And the Eucharist was raised, and while I didn’t feel any better, I also didn’t feel alone.
My love is outside of time. He had given me this gift long before I even knew that I would break down crying with Him.
Get lost, anxiety.
Get lost, anxiety.
Trust in You, my Divine Love? With all my heart.